Album: The Kingsbury Manx

Aztec Discipline, COOKING VINYL
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The Independent Culture

If only the The Kingsbury Manx's third album, matched its title more accurately; but Aztec Discipline is a bloodless affair, lacking the bite implied. Rather more appropriate would have been its predecessor, Let You Down. At least it puts its heart into the start: "Pelz Komet" opens matters like a condensed primer on contemporary US indie-rock, with the gentle thrumming of acoustic guitars marshalled by excitable drums, reluctantly developing a certain muscularity through the gradual addition of lead-guitar lines, before re-emerging in a more urgent direction. "Your time is all your own when you go it alone/ And there's no one there to tell you to go home," they sing, in a sort of epiphany of heartbreak, but there's no hint of the wild abandon implied; instead, they embark on a set of polite, methodical exercises with all the daring of a cup of cocoa. There's an ingenuous charm to their twinkly arpeggios and harmony vocals, which, when underscored by Paul Finn's organ on songs such as "Hunting Trips" and "Dinner Bell", resemble the Pink Floyd of "Cirrus Minor" or "Grantchester Meadows"; but that's more a nice spot for a picnic than the setting for a blood sacrifice. Too complacent by half.