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The Kingsbury Manx | Let You Down (City Slang)
It's berry picking time and therefore it must nearly be the Kingsbury Manx equinox, re-named after the band whose eponymous debut couldn't have been more autumnal had they a burning leaves scratch n' sniff cover. Wrapped in clouds with just enough blue peeking through, this one kicks straight in with doleful voices and sweet music but runs out of pep with barely a minute gone. Fear not, it's just them playing tricks, like a typical vernal day, clear one moment overcast the next, the title track gambols along towards Porchlight with all it's sunny lightness. Guitars float in the cool still air and voices sing in hushed tones as if afraid to disturb the moment. So, the mist may have cleared for this record, but enigmatic is the new brash and you don't get a lot more mysterious than not putting band members names on the record. Even with Brian Paulson at the production helm there's no real upping of pace, just a slight change of season. There is the occasional burst of energy, like the frolicking blitz in Courtyard Waltz, but this is a real lying in the sun record. The gentle warmth soaks into you and even titles like The New Evil and Baby You're A Dead Man are just harmless feather ruffling that melt in the solar rays, the latter sounding as if heard as you doze off on the grass while the world carries on around you. Do What You're Told builds as it goes, trying to rouse you until the sun wins, it fades and you drift away into dreams and visions shaped by the breezy guitars, dandelion fragile vocals and a pedal steel that hovers like a dragonfly. As with spring itself, it arrives, gets you all giddy with its heavy fragrance and then goes way too soon. "You were always coming around" they croon and she will again, meanwhile this should keep you warm with memories through the long nights.

Laurence Arnold
October 2001