My compact disc collection has a huge gaping hole in it in the K’s for The Kingsbury Manx (note I don’t, rightly or wrongly, alphabetise the “The”‘s in band names) for until this disc happened across my desk I have to confess to have never hearing of them before. But some quick research shows that the album (due out in March) and is their sixth record since they formed back in 1999, and is the follow up to 2009’s “Ascenseur Ouvert!”.
So I cannot wax lyrical about the development of their sound, or if this is a return to form or a continuation in a direction first hinted upon in their third album or anything else like that, that really, probably doesn’t mean anything to a casual reader. I can tell you though, that here-in lies a special collection of lovingly crafted melodic indie-pop gems. It’s not so much an album of instant gratifications but a solid and stable addition to a music library. It’s one of those records you’d definitely be able to put on when you have some friends over for dinner or something; it’d pleasantly play in the background as a suitable soundtrack to a laid-back social interaction and then, finally, after say the absolutely fantastic In The Catacombs – replete with a psyche-y spacey-y keyboard line or the hammond-y bedded swayer How Things Are Done, a more observant guest will ask “who’s this playing?” and you’d be able to say “The Kingsbury Manx” and they will probably write it down and seek them out themselves and they, themselves have a dinner party and do exactly the same thing with their guests and so on and so forth. Eventually we’d all go around to peoples house for tea and they’ll all play this album. Well, probably not; but the unlikely scenario does, I hope go some way in illustrating how good this record is.
Other album highlights include the title-lyric’d Glass Eye with it’s subtle electronic warblings set back from the friendly guitar strums and a wonderful string arrangement (which, if one were being picky one might wish for more of elsewhere on the record) and the much more pace-y upbeat and rockier Solely Bavaria followed, after the quiet musings of Concubine by a psychotic-sounding fairground ride that is Custer’s Last which is just brilliant!
Pop round for dinner, I’ll make my new specialty, methi prawns with a side of dahl and this’ll be on the stereo.
RATING : REALLY GREAT
I have always struggled with a numerical scale; it feels so finite and arbitrary.
So the CHEESE ON TOAST scale looks a little something like this :
FREAKIN’ AWESOME / JUST AWESOME / REALLY GREAT / GREAT / GOOD / PRETTY COOL / NOT BAD / COULD BE BETTER / PRETTY BAD, ACTUALLY / NOT RECOMMENDED FOR EARS