Archy Marshall’s debut LP reaches for the stars — and almost makes it
Though his stage name may be a reference to a Donkey Kong videogame character, King Krule is anything but childish. His first LP under this moniker (he’s performed as Zoo Kid since his debut in 2010), 6 Feet Beneath the Moon combines the 19-year-old’s signature gnarled lyrical approach with clean guitar plucks, piano, horns, and the occasional electric tremble. The result is a blend of genres — jazzy snares and bluesy vocals give way to hip-hop-style rhyming, brief psych-rock nods, and simplistic retro sounds. Don’t let the long-necked, thin look of Archy Marshall throw you — the Brit has a voice that defies his age. But he may need some time to grow into it.
The most interesting and perhaps satisfying element of Krule’s album is the way he mangles his voice, drawing out words into long snarls that lose their linguistic makeup, almost becoming instrumental — like a man letting something more animalistic take over. As such, however, the lyrics take a backseat to the overall production, leaving them flat at times. The top track, “Easy Easy,” follows in this vein. Read on the page, the lines, “And with your dead-end job / That’s been eating away your life / You feel a little inside / The trouble and strife. / And now you spend your evenings / Searching for another life,” pale in comparison to the emotive way it pours from somewhere deep inside the musician. But Krule knows how to give his song an alluring dimension, transforming the lines with a long, slow chew on his words.
In all, Krule’s album is a swirl of layered vocals and instrumentals that bleed into a curiously pleasant, slow-brewing storm of rhythmic noise. He’s at the very start of his career, however, and the record teases at what maturity and experience may give way to on his next album. But there’s something confused about 6 Feet, perhaps that it comes from a musician who’s still trying to suss out who exactly he is. But to Krule’s credit, and to our enjoyment, he’s genuinely taking the time to do so.
6 Feet Beneath the Moon is available today in the U.S. via True Panther Sounds.