You probably wouldn’t consider someone who is 19 to be very worldly. 19 years isn’t much time to put things into perspective, and make art that will still feel full in 5, 10 or even 20 years. However, not everyone is Archy Marshall. Growing up listening to garage, dub, jazz, and old school hip-hop among the dissolution and turmoil of London, King Krule grew up a bit quicker then most. He has been releasing music under various monikers since 2010 to, and a lot of critical acclaim has been coming his way. Though his earlier carrier has been filled with one-offs, short projects, and collaborations he has really decided to buckle down for this LP. He has canceled shows and has remained relatively silent until the album was finished. All this hard work has resulted in an album that is as somber in its sound and it is diverse in its influences.
The album opens with guitar and Marshall’s voice. For the most part that’s all you get. The guitar has a really full sound hanging in the reverb and echoing off the empty spaces. Some songs also feature some drum loops as well as some sampling, which is reminiscent of some of his earlier production. He’s not a strager to moving around styles as well as combining a few. There are slow burning guitar ballads like “Baby Blue” while the track “The Krockadile" is a fantastic dive into dub. These twists help to keep this album, which might otherwise be a bit taxing to listen to, moving smoothly.
You might compare his voice to that of Joe Strummer (in that they both sound like they sing with something in their mouth.) However, the Strummer comparison doesn’t stop there. Both artists convey the “beat down songwriter.” They’ve seen some stuff, which is obvious because of what they sing as well as how they sing it. When you hear him telling the story in “Ocean Bed” or describing hard times in “Easy, Easy” you can get more emotion and description from his voice then what he’s saying. It’s rough and untrained, but still has this strange appeal like a film noir, where it’s still dark even during the day.
The album also features previously released tracks (Out Getting Ribs, Ocean Bed) as well as a reworked version of “A Lizard State” which much to busy for it’s own good one of the few misses on the album (the horns in “Neptune Estate” was a much better use of the instrument.)
Marshall has changed a lot since he’s started. His names, recording techniques, and songwriting have gone through more then one transformation in the last few years. However, he remains true to the style and influence that made him love music in the first place. It really awesome to hear someone who understands the facets of the music they love, can dissect it, and turn it into something that is all their own. It’s certainly to early to call this guy anything, but hey every great songwriter started with one album. Lets see what he does with the rest of them.