The Kingsbury Manx

SXSW Records

Phases and Stages

The Kingsbury Manx

Let You Down (Overcoat) Like the clouds on the cover of Let You Down, Chapel Hill's Kingsbury Manx are a complex phenomenon best enjoyed as a simple pleasure. On their second album for Chicago indie Overcoat, the quartet of middle-school buddies once again brew the rich, warm sounds of early Pink Floyd, where musical layers overlap into a tidal pool of sound, and the bottom end blurs your speakers. Echoed guitars on "Simplify," the gentle banjo clop of "Et tu, Kittie?," waves of organ on "Rustic Stairs." To listen to the Kingsbury Manx is to lose oneself in the clouds. The band's three-part harmonies float in and above it all like some daybreak sound you can't identify. When "Sleeping on the Ground" falls to one voice, the lush, lo-fi chorus of Manx cries are missed. "The New Evil" doesn't even bother with vocals. As is the nature of sonic watercolors, often the "song" is subverted; title-track/opener "Let You Down" is most likely the only tune you'll come away humming. And it will stay with you; it recalls Brian Wilson as a sound sculptor graduated from the Brill Building School of Verse & Chorus. The graceful pull of guitars on "Courtyard Waltz," with its stately gait matching the cello/pedal steel dance entwined on "Baby You're a Dead Man," are the other great songs on Let You Down. "Pass the veeno, off the vine-o -- we're drunk as winos," is how the Kingsbury choir bids us farewell on "Do What You're Told," the closer. Drunk on Kingsbury Manx merlot. (Thursday, March 14, Scottish Rite Theatre, 9pm)


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