Kingsbury Manx: Hollywood Knitting Factory

Another bunch of US nu-psychedelicists overlooked in their home country, the brilliant Kingsbury Manx don't deserve to be sidelined...

It’s just criminal. Why is it that so many of the great bands are just ignored in this country? It’s a trail that goes back to the ’60s, when the Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’ was lauded in Britain, and a relative flop in the USA. Even more recent homegrown talent – Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips, Grandaddy – have more success and acclaim in Europe than in the States.

Unfortunately, you can probably add the Kingsbury Manx to that list. They may be revered overseas for their achingly beautiful melodies and mellow pop songs, but it seems as though hardly anyone west of the Rocky Mountains knows this combo from North Carolina even exist.

And well, that’s a darn shame, because the few avid fans scattered about the half empty room tonight are treated to forty-five minutes of pure magic. There are no slapped basses, no big shorts, no tattoos. That would be hell. Instead, the Kingsbury Manx weave an enchanting spell – all glimmering guitars and softly sung vocals. No, my friend, this is heaven.

It is a world of Love’s ‘Forever Changes’, the ornate sounds of Van Dyke Parks, the soft strum of the Velvet Underground’s ‘Pale Blue Eyes’. An era of crafted songs and radiant melodies. And at times it is hard to believe just how breathtaking the Kingsbury Manx are. ‘Silver Trees’ recalls the glorious shimmering pop of New Zealand’s Chills, while ‘Fanfare’, with its ghostly slide guitar, is positively stunning. At their peak, with the baroque glory of ‘Pageant Square’, Kingsbury Manx are simply awe-inspiring.

In a perfect world, the Kingsbury Manx would be revered by the masses. But alas, this is America in the year 2001, so for now, we’ll just have to treasure their magic ourselves.

Jason Reynolds