The Kingsbury Manx

Bronze Age

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For over a decade, Kingsbury Manx have been a reliable, if slow moving, source of fine American music that draws from country, folk, classic rock, psych, and many different strains of alternative rock to come up with a sound that is rich and relaxed, with really strong songs and nuanced performances. Taking four years between albums seems to work out well for them; 2009's Ascenseur Ouvert! was maybe their best album up to that point, 2013's Bronze Age is just as good. Mixing up layered neo-psych songs like "Custer's Last" and "In the Catacombs"; bubbling midtempo songs that would make Wilco circa Summerteeth jealous ("Handsprings," "Glass Eye"); surging indie rockers ("Future Hunter"), and cleverly arranged front porch ballads like "Weird Beard & Black Wolf," the record has a ton of variety, but the good-natured grace and unassuming charm of the group come through strongly throughout. It's not the kind of record that will knock you over the head with huge choruses and the thrill-a-minute approach; it's more like the kind that eases into your memory, carving out a nice and warm little corner to curl up in peacefully. A few of the songs make a case for something more, like the epic-sounding, slow-burning centerpiece "How Things Are Done," or the very hooky, uptempo "Solely Bavaria," but mostly what impresses is the totality of the album and the feeling of warmth it leaves you with as the last notes fade away. Kingsbury Manx may have missed their moment, if they ever had one, but anyone who's stuck with them will be glad they are still delivering albums as good and rewarding as this. See you in 2017, guys.

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