Munly & The Lupercalians – Kinnery Of Lupercalia; Undelivered Legion

Kinnery Of Lupercalia Undelivered Legion

Munly & The Lupercalians – Kinnery Of Lupercalia; Undelivered Legion
Alternative Tentacles
Release Date: 26/08/2022
Running Time: 39:48
Review By Alex Swift
8/10

Since this is the first piece of music I’ve heard from Jay Munly, I was interested to learn that it is the first of a trilogy of new albums, with the following two coming from his other projects, DBUK and Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. I do wonder why his three current bands need to be distinguished from one another given that they all seem to be made up of the same bandmates, but similar to Devin Townsend’s (meaningless, by this point) use of different monikers for what is essentially his solo career, the differences may help to distinguish between styles or different artistic philosophies. The album itself has a full sound with many top-notch textures. The percussion is active and gives the tunes a strong base. The piano, synthesiser, and melodica all make fantastic soundscapes, as do the cello, banjo, and acoustic guitars. Even the bass has a distinctive voice, keeping the beat with the drums and interacting with the many counter melodies and rhythms. Munly meanwhile has a deep, melancholy baritone. It all makes for an excellent sound. 

Before the banjo bursts in with a fantastic riff, the record begins to fade in with handclaps. Thanks to the multiple layers of sound building up, ‘Ahmen’ gets quite arresting while it’s operating at full speed. The bouncy vocal and the harmonies that accompany it are what make the song catchy. A special mention should be made for the organ work as well as the background voices, which take the opener to a whole new level. Compared to the roaring opener, ‘Ben Asher’ starts out more atmospheric and sombre, but I like how the speed gradually ramps up when the drums come into play toward the middle of the song. The way Rebecca Vera contributes a stunning background voice as this song grows into a kaleidoscopic swirl of atmosphere towards the conclusion is also fantastic. A solid foundation of sound is created by the bass, which is dominant on ‘Doder’ together with the continuous driving drumbeat, delicate melody, and shuffled guitar rhythm.  Despite Munly’s unique melodies, his vocals stay lively and lush, complementing the immersive quality of the track.

This is continued on to ‘Jehu’ where the myriad of tones and rhythms offer your ear a lot to process in this tune, and despite my best efforts to focus in on one aspect, other sounds kept preventing me from doing so. ‘Mahout’ is, thankfully, a lot more focussed, albeit in a deeply experimental way with changeable tempo work, a vocal choir and yodelling, which listeners will either despise or be impressed by. On ‘Mattie’, the band does an outstanding job with the intro, which quickly gives way to a lavish symphony of sound. Extremely deep and ominous, this tune surrounds itself with a gloomy rhythm and uneasy countermelodies. Vera’s vocal on the bridge really stands out to me and provides a lot of interest, especially when the divergent vocal lines begin to build on top. Following this, ‘Polpot’ has a delightful beat that, again approaching a soothing sound due to the wandering bass and percussion. 

The final song opens with an ominous synth prelude that transports us deep into a creepy, mysterious wood, fitting the title of the song, ‘Scarebeast’. Oddly, though, after the banjo and vocals enter, the song adopts a tone that is almost victorious or hopeful. Even if it’s challenging to follow, the story is compelling. Overall, the album finishes on a sombre note that makes me want to check out the other two instalments of this trilogy, if only to hear how the ambient and experimental sound built throughout this project is continued. Although it has a peculiar feel, it also demonstrates a desire to venture outside of traditional – or even logical – notions of genre and convention.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Ahmen
02. Ben Asher
03. Doder
04. Jehu
05. Mahout
06. Mattie
07. Polpot
08. Scarebeast

LINE-UP:
Jay Munly – Vocals & Banjo
Slim Cessna – Vocals
Lord Dwight Pentacost – Guitar
Rebecca Vera – Cello
Andrew Warner – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alex Swift and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

One thought on “Munly & The Lupercalians – Kinnery Of Lupercalia; Undelivered Legion

  1. I took the plane to catch Munly live in 2009 at the Denver Bluebird. And he played most of these songs! I am so happy and thankful that these outstanding tracks are now available – in my opinion, this is another Masterpiece by Munly. Check also his other project with The Lee Lewis Harlots (Alternative Records) – this album is also outstanding!

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