The Kingsbury Manx - Let You Down

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2001-09-03

Kingsbury Manx's second album, Let You Down, comes as a reminder that the simplest pleasures, often, are the best. "We have tried / To simplify our lives / To balance lows and highs", sing the Kingsbury Manx, on the gorgeous, lilting "Simplify". As rock & roll statements of intent goes, you seldom come across a more humble claim--but then, anyone who's heard North Carolina quartet The Kingsbury Manx's eponymous 2000 debut should know that theirs is a talent that you really don't need to shout in anyone's face. The unexpected success of The Kingsbury Manx found these four shy college graduates hit the road with Calexico and Stephen Malkmus, and while Let You Down, the follow-up was recorded with one-time Slint producer Brian Paulson in sleepy Virginia, this is far from a difficult math-rock beast: characterised by the guitar-sliding, bass-stroking, cymbal-teasing all-round gentleness of the opening title track, and gliding through wry banjo-accompanied lullabies ("Et Tu, Kitte?"), lavish orchestral happenings ("Baby You're A Dead Man") and incandescent, harmony-laden alt-rock dreamers ("Courtyard Waltz"). It all ends on "Do What You're Told": the sound of the four Kingsbury Manxers, "drunk as winos", stretched out in a meadow, playing guitars and watching aeroplanes paint long curves of vapour across the clear blue sky. --Louis Pattison

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