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The Kingsbury Manx


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Audio CD, January 18, 2000
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 18, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: January 18, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Overcoat Recordings
  • ASIN: B00003XA7H
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,659 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Pageant Square
2. Regular Hands
3. Piss Diary
4. Cross Your Eyes
5. Blue Eurasians
6. Hawaii In Ten Seconds
7. How Cruel
8. Fields
9. New Old Friends Blues
10. Whether Or Not It Matters
11. Fanfare
12. Silver Trees

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

You'll hear the precedent for this album in the dustiest corners of Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends, in the tender devotionals of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, and on the sun-baked gospel-soul of Lambchop's Nixon. Idle comparisons maybe, but it's true that the Kingsbury Manx talk louder through their songs than through contrived image. The best kept secret of Chapel Hill, North Carolina--so much so that when they emerged with this debut album, local commentators refused to believe that it was their work--the Kingsbury Manx are four retiring college graduates who write songs that invigorate the rock form in a way unheard since Built to Spill's Perfect from Now On. This is an album of exquisite moments--check the spine-tingling slide-guitar whirl of "Blue Eurasians," the gorgeous a cappella glide of "Hawaii in Ten Seconds," and frontman Kenneth Stephenson's emotive choral pleas on "Piss Diary." While The Kingsbury Manx is not a stone-cold classic, this is merely the springtime of their existence. A glorious future beckons. --Louis Pattison

Customer Reviews

It is deep, slow, sometimes heavy music.
"mikefrei"
This was perfect timing for repeated listening to an amazing debut.
mark briggs
Do yourself a bigger favor and see them live if you get a chance!
Marc Ayres

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "jlmonty" on March 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Within the intriguing packaging (dreamy 1970ish cover painting, lack of credits, lyrics, etc.), the Chapel Hill, NC quartet The Kingsbury Manx have created a humble gem. Refreshing in its lack of music-biz glossiness (see above), this album seems like it sprung out of the ground fully formed - it's an awkwardly beautiful, organic, growing thing. Shades of the Velvets, Brian Wilson, New Zealand pop (Chills, JPS Experience), Syd Barrett-era Floyd, even the Dead! (check out "How Cruel") abound, but merely influence-checking this record really trivializes the wondrous sounds of this astounding debut.
The album opens with the sleepy, loping "Pageant Square" , then eases into the chilled air of "Regular Hands" - both different sounding tracks, yet both imbued with the sun-dappled gentleness that transcends you into a hazy, leafy world. This feeling is carried even further with the misleadingly titled "Piss Diary", it's sumptuous, autumnal glow passing over you like a blanket from your childhood. The funky wah-wah of "Cross Your EyesÓ leads into the wall-of-sound dirgey jam of "Blue Eurasians", which is in my opinion the weakest cut on the CD (if there is a weak cut!). "Hawaii In Ten Seconds" is acappella, full of ernest, albeit nasal, warmth. "Fields" starts as a sort of psychedelic song-cycle which evolves into some gorgeous acoustic guitar finger-picking (which they should have expanded upon). "New Old Friend Blues" has a mellow, Yo La Tengo-ish vibe that is further enhanced by its tired, lazy vocals which suit the songs feeling entirely. "Whether Or Not It Matters" has the kind of harmonies that you just don't hear anymore - without falling into soppy, Eagle-ish smooth rock - no small feat.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mark briggs on February 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I bought this record on a whim, one day before a blinding snowstorm in my Indiana hometown. This was perfect timing for repeated listening to an amazing debut. The brutally honest lyrics coupled with the desolate, almost rythmically ambient music create a beautiful bummer of a record. Take some cough medicine, get under the covers, close the curtains, set the cd player on repeat, and call off of work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 31, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I just saw and met these guys last night at a show in Denton, TX. I bought this CD from them. There are a lot of different styles here. Influences range from Elliot Smith and American Analog Set to Palace and Bedhead. They said they were very proud of the album when I asked for a copy, and one can hear why. My fave line: "It's hard not to crumble under the pressure of an angry woman."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "mikefrei" on September 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Absolutely beautiful CD. I saw The Kingsbury Manx when they opened for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks at Irving Plaza in NYC on March 31st, 2001. I had never heard of them before and the place was only half full when they came on. After the first song, however, I stepped out into the hall to buy their CD. It would be hard for me to classify their music, but in the interests of anyone reading this review, I'll try. It is deep, slow, sometimes heavy music. They make great use of the organ and a stand-up base. It is dreamy, sleepy, and harmonious. The only sound I could remotely compare it to would be The Red House Painters (very similar in some ways, but Kingsbury Manx is, I dare say, even more complex) or The Tindersticks. I think if you like either of those two bands, you owe it to yourself to get this CD. It is now like a rare jewel in my music collection, and I am highly anticipating their next release.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Shelley Levine on August 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is my favorite album -- it has been since the day I received it. It's become familiar and personal. I never get tired of listening to the Manx, and I RECOMMEND them to everyone who wants to hear dreamy harmony, thoughtful lyrics and a really pleasing sound. The combined genius of these four guys is amazing. The CD cover above is your first clue to the creative talent of the band...one of the members painted it. Definitely buy this music...listen to it often...sometimes it feels like they're singing right to you
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By vicky@bunnage.fsnet.co.uk on August 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Leafing through the alternative American section of my local second hand record store in Manchester, England, I chanced upon this album by a band I had never even heard the name of before. The sticker compared them to the Radar Brothers, who I love, so that was enough to make me take a flyer on it. My hunch was right. They do sound like a bit like the RB's, but so much more - maybe that previously unexplored hinterland between them, the Beta Band and the Ladybug Transistor. Whatever, it's gorgeous. Hypnotic, pastoral and melodic - nobody that I've played this to hasn't adored it. This band are clearly special.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ben Krone on February 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Seriously one of the best pop albums to come out of the Chapel Hill area in a long while! If BedHead and Will Oldham were to procreate the offspring may have teamed up with Low to write this record! well crafted complex songs that are so intriguing its hard to believe this is a first attempt! R E C O M M E N D E D! check out "regular hands"
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By Hilton Royale on January 12, 2011
Format: Audio CD
If you can imagine a blend of Elliott Smith, Belle & Sebastian, some of Beta Band's
folkiest stuff, and add a drop of a more laid back version of Pavement, you should
be pretty close to the sound and the flavor of The Kingsbury Manx!
(That's a description based on their three best albums; this one, "Let You Down"
and "Aztec Discipline".For me, their latest album, "Ascenseur Ouvert!", goes a bit
in the wrong direction. By now means a bad album, but it still feels less engaging
and a bit too calculated.)

Influences are often cited as Byrds, Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel and early Pink
Floyd. Usually that would get me running for cover(fast enough to put my shoes on
fire!), as I'm not one for too much harmonizing, but this I can definitely handle.
Regular Hands, Piss Diary, Cross Your Eyes and New Old Friend Blues are all great
songs, with sparse and truly beautiful arrangements.

I remember reading about this album ten years ago, when it made the best albums of
the year list in NME, but I couldn't get hold of it then. After listening to it
a lot over the past six months, it's easy to understand why it was so well received.
The first half of the album is fantastic, but with the exception of New Old Friend
Blues, the rest of it doesn't quite reach the standard of the first four tracks.

Some albums just get overlooked and more or less lost, critically acclaimed and all,
but still makes no significant impact. This is one of those.
"Let You Down" and "Aztec Discipline" is almost as good, and contains some great
songs: Baby, you're a dead man, Pelz Komet, Hunting Trips and Dinner Bell.)
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