On the day he turned 19, Archy Marshall, a.k.a. King Krule, dropped one of the more exciting UK debuts in years. The follow up to his well received and self-titled EP, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon stands tall as a masterful cohesion of Marshall’s different sounds that span across his numerous outlets; the guitar hooks and regretful lyricism of King Krule and Zoo Kid, the ambient jazz blues of DJ JD Sports, and the hip-hop sensibilities of Edgar the Beatmaker.
Given his tender age, much of Marshall’s lyricism tinkers with newfound heartache and the jutting melancholy that pounds the soul when things don’t pan out. His distinctive gravelly bellow culls from a wealth of emotional experiences. On “Out Getting Ribs”, one of four previous Marshall tracks that were reworked for this album, we hear him pleading and bargaining with a girl ready to leave him. “Don’t break away, I’ll waste away, don’t break away,” he bemoans his lost lover, an emotional projection that dominates the other tracks.
Marshall’s ability to change the tempo and play with the rhythm through the course of his songs may be his greatest strength, a skill he shows off on tracks like “Foreign”, “Borderline”, and “The Krockadile”. His interweaving of candied reverb and hip-hop drum kicks carves out a niche sound that’s all in Marshall’s hands. His instinctual talent in reigning in big sounds amidst minimal settings recalls Bowie’s more adventurous eras — a lofty claim, admittedly, that speaks more to the medium than the sound itself.
Marshall’s hip to adventure, though. In recent months, he’s collaborated with Angel Haze and Mount Kimbie, dropped strong remixes of songs by Metronomy and Big Pink, and he’s won support from the likes of Frank Ocean. What 6 Feet Beneath the Moon does is throw all that into a sleek binder, one that’s filled with brutally honest portraits of a young artist and an almost alien blueprint for a promising career that could go in any direction Marshall chooses.
Time for liftoff, pal.
Essential Tracks: “Easy Easy”, “Lizard State”, and “The Krockadile”