Album Review: A New Place 2 Drown by Archy Marshall
Very Good, Based on 7 Critics
Pitchfork - 86 Based on rating 8.6/10
Since releasing his first single as Zoo Kid in 2010, the Londoner Archy Marshall has treated his creative output like loose change spilled into couch cushions. He's released hip-hop mixtapes, ambient instrumentals, and remixes of other acts' songs; only some of his output has been under the name King Krule, the moniker he settled on for his 2013 debut full-length, meaning it's flown beneath the radar of casual music fans who were stunned by 6 Feet Beneath the Moon. The work of tracking what he does now has fallen to hardcore faithful, which seems like a smart long-term survival strategy and a sensible reaction to early career hype: halve your visibility, double your productivity, and wait for the universe to catch up.
The rise of King Krule never lent enough credit to Archy Marshall’s many layers. From Zoo Kid, through various mixtapes and guest productions and eventually touching down with what became King Krule debut ‘6 Feet Beneath The Moon’’s signature sound, there’s a sense with everything Marshall puts a name to that he’s toying with his own creativity; stretching muscles he didn’t even know he had. ‘A New Place 2 Drown’ is his boldest statement to date, in that regard: a 208-page book of poetry and illustration and an accompanying short film come packaged with the record itself.
Archy Marshall’s A New Place 2 Drown is pure sonic neo-noir. With its combination of macabre instrumentation and gritty ‘90s hip-hop influence, it’s the kind of record that feels wrong to listen to before the witching hour. Accompanied by a semi-autobiographical short film and a literary collaboration with his brother, Jack, the album is an immersive, if slightly opaque, dive into Marshall’s psyche.
UK based singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer King Krule dropped the moniker and released his latest project A New Place to Drown under his real name, Archy Marshall. The ambient opener, "Any God of Yours," is well-produced and a clear window to a record that is more moody soundtrack than an album as Marshall moans over crackles and backdrop production. "Ammi Ammi" is a beautifully electric-fused soundscape, with guitar riffs and a smooth melody paired with evocative lyrics: "She takes my hand and doesn't let go / I feel it deep within my soul / Oh, this person hates my bones.
Archy Marshall has been gradually creaking the door open, letting the light in on his gloaming guttersnipe blues, ever since uploading U.F.O.W.A.V.E. — his 2010 collection of minimally produced guitar scribbles as Zoo Kid — to his Bandcamp. Two years later, all of those tracks — including likely “Is This It?” ripper “Has This Hit” (Marshall has flattered Julian Casablancas in the sincerest way before) and his breakout back-porch ballad “Out Getting Ribs” — were groomed and polished for his proper debut LP, 2013’s 6 Feet Underneath the Moon.
At 19 years old, Archy Marshall released his first LP as King Krule. The English musician immediately made an impression, roping isolated guitar into a slosh of passionately arranged slacker rock. The allure comes from his marbled baritone, his elongated drawl, bringing poetic lines to life like he’s doing spoken word under an entire bottle of cough syrup.
The prolific British musician best known as King Krule follows up his 6 Feet Beneath The Moon album with a soundtrack for his South London neighbourhood. Released as part of a collaborative short film, book and music project with his brother Jack, A New Place 2 Drown fuses his post-punk, hip-hop and jazz influences that were more obvious on past recordings into a more personal and oblique sound. The lyrics are, unsurprisingly, often consumed with romantic entanglements, but Marshall eschews wistful guitar riffs and pop song structures.