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Aztec Discipline

The Kingsbury Manx

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Album Review

The Kingsbury Manx's third album, Aztec Discipline, continues down the path of quiet excellence established on their first two albums. The hallmarks of their sound are all present and accounted for: the breathy vocals and lush vocal harmonies, the layers of gently strummed guitars, the daydreamy tempos, the melancholy melodies. This time around there is more emphasis on the pastoral aspect of their sound; a couple of the tracks ("Growler in the Rumbleseat," "Creature of Habit") even approach alt-country territory. Of course, the vocals are too restrained and pretty for alt-country; they are more in line with the neo-psychedelic country of Beachwood Sparks and the Lowlights. There is also a bit more care taken with the arrangements to keep the songs from sounding too similar, a problem that lightly plagued their last effort. About halfway through the record when it seems ready to capsize into a midtempo moody murk, they drop in the downright perky country-rocker "Grape to Grain" to change the pace. Aztec Discipline is filled with some of the band's strongest songs ("Pinstripes" and "Pelz Komet" even have hooks!) and the usual strong performances and low-key guitar heroics. They save the very best for last. The absolutely beautiful "Fixed Bayonets" is neo-psych country at its best. The down-home banjo, weeping pedal steel, and above all the aching melody and wistfully sweet vocals are sure to have all but the most stone-hearted weeping into their beverage of choice. It makes one wish that the whole album were this transcendent. Oh well — it is still a good record. Certainly those who liked the last two records (and EP) will find this to be a wonderful addition to the band's catalog.

Customer Reviews

God Love the Manx!!!

The Kingsbury Manx are the best kept secret in the South, and Aztec Discipline establishes that. From the introspective lull of 'Dinner Bell' to the galloping 'Grape to Grain' the band welcomes you to the rolling hills of North Carolina invoking the brightest elements of Pink Floyd, The Byrds and Elliot Smith. Best shared with everyone and no one, this is sure to become one of your favorite driving albums.

Biography

Formed: 1999

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Kingsbury Manx emerged in 1999 from the same North Carolina indie rock scene that spawned the Archers of Loaf and Superchunk before them. Bandmembers Ken Stephenson (guitar/vocals), Bill Taylor (guitar/vocals), Ryan Richardson (drums/vocals), and Scott Myers (bass/keyboards) attended middle school together in Greensboro before going separate ways during their college years. Stephenson and Myers enrolled in creative writing studies at Wilmington while Taylor and Richardson both landed at UNC,...
Full Bio
Aztec Discipline, The Kingsbury Manx
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