Archy Marshall, aka King Krule, a 19-year-old with a thick south London accent, brings to life his own version of inner-city London ambiance with down-tempo, jazz-influenced soundscapes and boom bap hip-hop beats.
What sounds like a hackneyed idea is actually a paradox of two worlds – straight-laced London and relaxed jazzy Harlem.
Since his first single, “Out Getting Ribs,” Marshall has honed his already arresting sound into a more concrete amalgamation of genres and themes.
His deep baritone and harsh, angry delivery, occasionally peppered with frustrated yowls, sharply contrast with the singer’s gangly frame, flaming red hair and paper-white skin.
On his debut album, “6 Feet Beneath the Moon,” his voice is both abrasive and soothing at once, demonstrated by his “Neptune Estate” lyrics “I wanna be with you/ I wanna be used.”
Songs like “Has This Hit?” and “Cementality,” the two especially morose songs on the album, highlight the hurt that Marshall has struggled to work through.
“You’re not my pen/ You’re my paper/ You’re not my heart/ You’re it’s breaker.”
Demonstrated in songs such as “Easy Easy,” whether it is bad break-ups or crippling depression, Marshall seems to have overcome some of his pain and has stabilized.
He explicitly talks about his pain, “When positivity seems hard to reach/ I keep my head down and my mouth shut/ ‘Cause if you’re going through hell/ Just keep going.”
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Marshall explicitly states, “Cementality” is about, “killing myself…about becoming one with the cement.”
The song itself is bleak, stark and even more soaked in reverb than the rest of his reverb-dripping record.
“See the cement has never meant so much/ My hot head cools to the stone cold touch/Brain leave me be/ Can’t you see that these eyes are closed?/ My concrete bed beckons/ Can you hear me?”
His music may come across as depressing, but his sound has rich variety.
Though he performs down-tempo well, he performs upbeat even better.
Coffeehouse tracks such as, “The Krokadile,” and “Border Line” are just up-tempo enough to develop a healthy strut or butt-shaking rhythm to. It’s obvious this album wasn’t made for the club scene, but rather to relax and really soak in.
A few things that really took away from the album were Marshall’s re-imagining of his early released singles, “Out Getting Ribs” and “Ocean Bed.”
The tracks didn’t need any retouching or tweaking in order to fit better into the ambient sound of the album and would have made more creative sense had he just spliced the originals into the record.
The re-recorded versions have sort of lost all of the production value (or lack of) that drew fans to his signature sound.
A few songs that really vibe on this album are the jazz house/spoken word-esque, “Neptune Estate,” that a couple might put on to ease their romance along. The horns on the track are at once very subdued, but quickly swell to a very relaxed and beautiful climax.
“Can’t you bear just one more night?/ I could lay inside/ You know I’ll hold you tight.”
For a debut, this album is extremely sophisticated and transcends the artist’s young age. Instrumentally, Marshall really shows off his chops and lyrically he only continues to awe listeners with his depth of feeling. “6 Feet Beneath the Moon” was released Aug. 24 by True Panther Records.