Kingsbury Manx | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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KINGSBURY MANX

The four members of Chapel Hill's Kingsbury Manx have been friends since childhood, and the formation of the band in the mid-90s seems to have stemmed more from that long-standing camaraderie than musical ambition. After a couple years, when they finally got around to recording a demo, they still hadn't played a live gig or even picked a band name. In fact, they only named themselves when the Chicago-based Overcoat label was getting ready to manufacture their debut, which they also called The Kingsbury Manx. The group's delicate, loosely psychedelic songs are occasionally wobbly in the performances, but the deep bond between the musicians is evident in sublime three-part harmonies and the hushed, almost conversational interplay of queasy organ, acoustic guitar, wah-wahed and gurgled electric guitar, spare pedal steel, and cello. The pretty, decidedly nonrock vocal melodies on songs like "Pageant Square" and "Piss Diary" recall Simon & Garfunkel, while the brief, spooky a cappella exercise "Hawaii in Ten Seconds" sounds like a barbershop quartet on a bad trip. The band's restraint and pastel palette also connect it with indie softies like American Analog Set, Bedhead, and Acetone, but early, shamblingly beautiful Pink Floyd is probably the most revealing reference point of all. 764-HERO headlines; Tim Kinsella opens. Thursday, March 8, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

PETER MARGASAK

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