Tim Hughes reviews King Krule’s album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon.

 

king krule - six feet beneath the moon cover

 

King Krule, also known as Archy Marshall, creates a very singular sound on 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, a sound that takes notes from a very wide range of influences. The sounds of dub, new wave, punk and jazz are all heard throughout this magnificent album. Being influenced by such a wide range of tastes and influences can often leave music sounding clustered and disjointed, but what Archy does so well is to pull his influences succinctly into one sound, a fairly minimal sound that is unmistakably his.

Over the course of the 14 songs on the album Archy creates what can only be described as soundscapes. The minimal production from Rodaidh McDonald of XL Recordings leaves room for the music to breathe and creates an atmosphere between the reverb of the guitars, bass and drums which evokes city life. In the days leading up the album’s release date (also Archy’s 19th birthday) the album was streamed on King Krule’s website with a backdrop of live streams of London traffic, and it fit perfectly. The album is undoubtedly one created by someone growing up in a big city and that’s something you can hear not just in its soundscapes, but also in the lyrics -there are tales of unemployment and wasted days, even the sombre topic of suicide. These lyrics are delivered eloquently through Marshall’s unmistakeable drawl. His voice is one which strikes you instantly; wildly deep and erratic, he goes from Edwyn Collins-style crooning to a distinct punkiness without the transition feeling awkward.

What’s so great about the album is that it draws together Archy’s old and new songs into a perfect flow.  He has been releasing music since 2010 and there is a wealth of music produced by him on the Internet under different monikers. What pleases me most, as an avid follower since his first releases, is that he’s included some of his old ‘classics’. These old songs are all newly recorded, with different little quirks and a whole new sound that brings it all together.

The primary difference from his earlier work is the production. What used to be scrappy and lacklustre is now very subtle but powerful. Holding back to then let loose gives everything much more intensity and power. For example, ‘Neptune Estate’ plods along with pattering drums on a lovelorn melody, but then some horns come in and totally lift it to another place before retreating again. The song retains the subtlety and intimacy of the album as a whole but also points to bigger things ahead.

I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better debut album released this year, or any other album that so successfully brings together such disparate influences into a unique and emotional sound. 6 Feet Beneath the Moon as a whole is a captivating listen. Each song is different enough to keep your attention but they all flow perfectly together. Crescendos and retreats in sounds endear you to the spiky enigma that is King Krule. And that’s exactly what you’re buying into here: King Krule. You’re not buying any other indie or pop album; you’re buying the sound of Archy Marshall and the sound of the city.

 

Tim Hughes

 

Image Credit: XLRecordings