Best Albums of 2013: #8
8. King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath the Moon
Teenage angst fuels nineteen year-old Archy Marshall in his debut.
Faces in the Crowd*
“From the Zoo Kid days to projects such as Edgar the Beatmaker and DJ JD Sports, 19-year-old Archy Marshall never fails to impress. On his first full length – under the moniker, King Krule – Marshall provides a diverse collection of sounds capable of captivating an array of audiences”
“I’m ready to go from being a kid to being a king.” said 19-year-old Archy Marshall in his interview with The Guardian. It seems as though Marshall has most certainly had to grow up quickly upon his growing notoriety from his adventurous musical catalog through various names, such as Edgar the Beatmaker, Zoo Kid, DJ JD Sports, Lankslacks and now King Krule. Marshall, under his King Krule moniker, has been slowly creeping into the American spotlight, with endorsement of American groups like Odd Future and even getting a few late night TV performances on David Letterman and Conan. Marshall is currently on a North American tour, exposing himself even more to the American public. A lot of critics can’t even put a finger on Marshall, some have called him post dubstep, indie rock, electronic but I think all of those are just wrong. Marshall’s body of work shouldn’t be pinned down to one genre because he’s far too talented for that. What we find with 6 Feet Beneath the Moon is a very young artist who is willing to experiment. This album is a full fledged crooner. I mean, this thing has got raw emotion flowing all through it.
6FUTM starts out with this guitar riff that is manipulated to sound like a menacing bassline(“Psycho Killer”-esque). Soon after that we hear King Krule for the first time when he growls “same ol bobby, same ol beat” and from that point we get young, raw emotion. I most definitely think the biggest turnoff about King Krule is his voice. It most definitely isn’t for everyone. Personally, I love it because it captures the emotion Marshall is trying to convey on each song. It’s very raw but I think it’s a artful in a way. Marshall uses his voice as the paint to his paintbrush( aka his lyrics) to get his point across.
Moving on to more the albums content. I would say that “Border Line” is a track that I really, really enjoy in the first half of the album. Much like “Easy Easy” , it starts out with a single guitar riff but this riff is very xx esque. Even with the xx comparisons, Krule isn’t a ripoff. I honestly think his songs are more pained and raw than the xx is capable of delivering. I mean, Marshall is pouring his heart out on a lot of these tracks. Take for example, the next track “Has This Hit?” when he shouts “I know when I look into the sky/There is no meaning/Girl I’m the only one believing/And that there’s nothing to believe in” that is some unapologetically raw stuff right there. Marshall is an embodiment of teenage angst.
“Foreign 2” is a track where Marshall enters the realm of electronica. The melodies are very spazzy and he uses this sort of robotic keyboard note that constantly pops up. Marshall’s vocals echo across ghostly guitar riffs and it just seems like a track where Marshall is trying to paint a different picture of his disconnect. He pulls it off pretty well. I think towards the later half of the album is where Marshall really begins to shine. “Baby Blue” is one of those dreamy, indie crooners where he treads the waters of gentle and intimate. Marshall even seems to cry out in pain in between vocals. “Cementality” is a track that could be best described as Vince Guraldi gone emo. Marshall most definitely lets his jazz/blues influences shine through on the second half of the record and it’s the reason why the record flourishes. The keyboards and guitar that are scattered throughout the track remind me of “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” but I think that’s essentially a reflection of who King Krule is on this record. He’s kind of an pissed off Charlie Brown. He’s the outsider who can’t really get much love or appreciation. His need for it is constantly driving him.
“A Lizard State” is another great track that incorporates some more Jazz elements. Like how he matches his guitar melody with that of a trumpet. Marshall is in “fuck everyone” mode on this track and it’s awesome to watch him go. Marshall is very unapologetic. He’s just letting his emotions go, whether they be good or bad. It’s a therapeutic track for him. It’s very powerful in one regard but also a little cartoonish in the way of which Marshall throws around his words. “Will I Come” is another track that I love. It’s very dark and I think that the darkness is to the credit of the samples. To me, it sounds like an instrumental Frank Ocean would like to use. On the last four or five tracks of the album, Marshall spends them crooning. He certainly makes a point to let his previously mentioned teenage angst shine through in these last tracks in the most saddening of ways to the listener. Particularly, the final two tracks “Out Getting Ribs” and “Bathed in Grey”. “Out Getting Ribs” is obviously the most minimally produced and lyrically focused track on the album. This track is a rather old one, being released when young Archy was going under the moniker Zoo Kid almost three years ago. This song is a portrait of passion and destruction, both of which are unfolding within Marshall’s heart. We see Marshall unraveling on this track and it closes out with optimism. The closing track, the aptly titled “Bathed in Grey”, is a track that strikes the heart with great force. The piano work on this track is heartbreaking. Marshall can’t ever seem get away from his troubles. It’s an amazing ending to a truly awesome debut.
Archy Marshall’s debut record under his project King Krule is a work of art. A lot of 6 Feet Beneath the Moon is just raw emotion but not just from the lyrics, we feel Archy Marshall’s emotions through the sounds and his pained, unusual vocal delivery. He’s established himself as an outsider even if he says he wants to “live like a king”. This album is very much from the point of view of the teenage outsider in terms of lyrics. If I could compare his approach or direction to someone, I think I’d compare him to Fiona Apple. I say this because, very much like Fiona, Marshall tries to think outside the box vocally as well as production wise. He focuses on how much his production and growls can really make the listener feel certain emotions. And also very much like Fiona’s love-hate affair with her imperfections, Marshall is always focusing on how far he can stretch his deeply pained personality so he can thrive. It’s more than just sound, it’s some real artful stuff. Even the dark, gritty and depressing themes can be ridiculously beautiful. That’s essentially what King Krule’s debut is. 6 Feet Beneath the Moon is a reflection of the world of which King Krule resides in and I can assure you that it features little color. Just a “dark shade of blue.” Croon on, Archy.
Listen to “Easy Easy” by King Krule:
BEST ALBUMS OF 2013