The Kingsbury Manx – Bronze Age

The Kingsbury Manx - Bronze Age

The Kingsbury Manx – Bronze Age

At a time when some are artists becoming just too prolific for the good of their audiences, it’s actually relieving that the four members of The Kingsbury Manx haven’t rushed to follow-up 2009’s return-to-form Ascenseur Ouvert! (which in itself took four years to appear after 2005’s The Fast Rise And Fall Of The South LP).  However, opting to release Bronze Age amidst the busiest release months of 2013 – just ahead of the love/hate hump of Record Store Day – might mean that the quartet’s low-key return might get lost in the flood.  Which would be a shame, as the album enhances the rejuvenation process that its immediate predecessor began, to largely endearing effect.

Whilst Bronze Age isn’t a radical overhaul of the band’s palette, it deploys enough eclecticism and melodic engagement to continue relighting the charms that made 2000’s still unsurpassed eponymous debut such a touchstone treasure.  Moreover, further improvements on top of the ground regained with Ascenseur Ouvert! come through stronger balancing of the band’s fondness for blissfulness and buoyancy, wrapped up in a tighter eleven-track sequence.  Hence, the album moves more swiftly when the momentum merits it and reclines more elegantly when the pace needs to decelerate.

Thus there are a string of soaring psyche-pop cuts that display a new found energy without sacrificing the quartet’s penchant for lush layering; such as the rapidly twirling “Future Hunter,” the stomping synth-squelching of “In The Catacombs,” the speedily chugging “Solely Bavaria” and the fuzzily reworked “Custer’s Last” (previously heard in less boisterous form on 2009’s Here Hear compilation).  In the mid-tempo range there are some balmy folk-rock shuffles in the shape of the Fleet Foxes via Bacharach dreaminess of “Handsprings” and the Crosby, Stills & Nash vs. The Flaming Lips pastoral shimmer of “Glass Eye.”  In the most slow-mo corners, we find the delightfully dainty “Concubine” and the languid near-hymnal finale of “Ashes To Lashes (Tailspins),” which skilfully give the album an emotional core that is comforting but not overbearing.

Ultimately, The Kingsbury Manx may now largely be preaching to the converted but at least any concerns about the foursome complacently exploiting ongoing good faith can be cast aside with a record that makes its quietly inventive and melodious presence firmly felt without outstaying its welcome.  More in about 2017 then please gentlemen…

Odessa Records

The Kingsbury Manx – “Future Hunter”

The Kingsbury Manx – Future Hunter