US - North Carolina - Full Moon 61 - 10/02/01
The Kingsbury Manx
Let You Down
When The Kingsbury Manx emerged with their bleary-eyed and beautiful debut in 2000, critics
damned them with faint praise. A beguiling, charming and woozily melodic record, The Kingsbury
Manx evaded all journalistic cliches by simply being a straightforward guitar album that
refused to paddle in one genre pool for long.
Their return is something that is unlikely to get many people in too much of a rabid frenzy,
but that's exactly what it is that makes the band so attractive in terms of their sound and
presentation. There's no marketing hype, no soundbite-ridden interviews, no fanfare to announce
this release. And that's just the way I like it.
That's not to say that I don't want many, many people to buy and enjoy this album. Go ahead.
Buy it. It's excellent, and at least the equal of their debut. But don't expect it to knock you
over. Rather wait, and listen, and these songs will crawl onto your lap like a cat, purring
gently, whispering wisdom and imparting tales of love and regret.
There's something so emotive and true about their words, especially to the male of the
species; the title itself is a hint at the general tone of resignation. But there are reserves
of joy and hope from sources other than unrequited longing for some woman or other. There's
strength in friendship, trust and mutual respect.
The music that backs these musings is delicate, lyrical and exquisitely arranged so that the
brush of a snare sends shivers of ecstasy up your spine; the picked electric guitar parts sing
and resonate plaintively. It's almost difficult to pick out any particular tracks, as the whole
amounts to much greater than the sum of its parts. However, Porchlight and Simplify
are gorgeous, melty songs, sublime and lovely; side two is slightly darker but still ends with
the ironic Do What You're Told, the band "drunk as winos".
You won't regret letting The Kingsbury Manx into your life. Lovely cover art too.
Copyright © 2001 Tim Clarke