Album Review: 6 Feet Beneath the Moon by King Krule
Very Good, Based on 18 Critics
PopMatters - 90 Based on rating 9/10
The edge of late night and early morning—somewhere between 1:15 and 3:30 AM. Preferably a weeknight. Six or seven blocks on the walk home without seeing another human person, even in a crowded city. Brown liquor, ingested readily but several hours before. Summer breeze in your face, humidity ….
Archy Marshall is unlike any other 19-year-old in the world, that's for sure. Writing songs in his pre-teens, it was in 2010 (under the moniker Zoo Kid) that he turned heads with his gritty, urban narratives about life in South London. Switching his alias to the ageless King Krule, Marshall proved to be a prodigious songwriter and musician with his well-received 2011 self-titled EP and last year's "Rock Bottom" single.
Though it’s been a few years since Archy Marshall first released the single Out Getting Ribs as Zoo Kid, there’s still a good chance that the London-based musician’s age will likely still be at the forefront of the conversation regarding 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, his debut full-length as King Krule. But looking back, it’s still hard to believe that that song was crafted by a 16-year-old. Consisting of little more than Marshall’s hardened baritone and sharp, lonely guitar lines, Ribs was the kind of fully formed statement – both emotionally, compositionally, and stylistically – that felt so far beyond Marshall’s modest years that it almost had to be a fluke.
New Musical Express (NME) - 80 Based on rating 4/5
It’s hard to be a saint in the city. These days, it’s hard just to get by. There’s a disillusioned generation growing up under austerity in the UK, with slim job prospects but fat debts. It’s easy to be angry and easier to be sad. What’s tough is finding the words to talk about it.King ….
King Krule – real name: Archie Marshall – will be all of 19 on Saturday. Uncoincidentally, he's putting out his debut album on the same day, a day of the week when no one else releases albums, roughly a year after everyone expected him to. 6 Feet Beneath the Moon is that sort of a record too – awkward, bloody-minded, tuned into its own scales, but hopeful.
For those who have followed King Krule, a.k.a. teenager Archy Marshall, since he first started releasing music under his previous guise of Zoo Kid, it has been a long wait for the teenager’s debut album. The Londoner, who perfected his skills at the renowned BRIT School in Croydon (see also: Adele, Katy B, Kate Nash, the late Amy Winehouse), started recording music when he was just 11, but it was his debut single Out Getting Ribs – released in 2010 under the Zoo Kid name – that really got tongues wagging.
The 19-year-old Londoner Archy Marshall has the pale, fine-boned features of Ron Weasley and the rough shout of someone sent to crush your kneecaps. Unsteady, urgent, and skirting tonelessness, it leaks out of him in hair-raising bursts, a poorly kept secret in his birdlike body, and it heightens the emotional stakes of his music before you've internalized a word he's sung. On his earliest recordings, first under the name Zoo Kid and then King Krule, he assembled a haunting, singular sound out of nothing but that voice, accompanied by some hard-strummed jazz chords on a broken-sounding electric guitar, some quiet, sputtering drum loops, and a blank wall of reverb.
Of all the ways to celebrate your birthday, Archy Marshall picked a pretty good one. After making music throughout his childhood, then releasing a few bits under the name Zoo Kid, Marshall has settled on the moniker King Krule, with this debut coming out on his nineteenth birthday. His 2011 self-titled EP turned a lot of heads, causing Marshall to be burdened with the most unfortunate of tags: potential.
Archy Marshall makes music that's pleasantly out of focus, dangling his drowsily exaggerated Cockney accent over ice-flow hip-hop beats striped with sad-lounge pianos and watery guitars. On his full-length debut, lazy-bloke admissions like "I will end up on the dole/It's my life" sound at once tired, sad, tough and drunk, suggesting the Morrissey of U.K. dubstep.
In recent years, it seems like younger musicians (and filmmakers, for that matter) increasingly prefer to incorporate all of their influences - no matter how superficially disparate - into a postmodern style (invariably labelled "genre-defying") rather than adhere to accepted conventions of, say, folk, rock or R&B. Londoner Archy Marshall is one such act. On his debut full-length, the 19-year-old prodigy entwines Django Reinhardt jazz guitar riffs, J.
You can stream the debut from 19-year-old King Krule – aka Archy Marshall – via his website, alongside live CCTV feeds from London's streets. It's an apt concept for an album that thrives in context: much like the concrete jungle itself, 6 Feet's songs are grotty, stinking, sneering leers, bursts of brutality and headachey hedonism. "Same old bobby same old beat/ Well they ain't got nothin' on me," he begins on Easy Easy, before the stoned lullaby of Border Line skitts from aggression to affection like the drug-addled weirdo on the back of the night bus.
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.
Archy Marshall is just a kid. Hell, his musical moniker, King Krule, is derived from a Donkey Kong Country character. And even before that, he went by the name Zoo Kid. Youth is the backstory that's been propelling the hype behind Marshall's music so far, so it's appropriate that 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, the 19-year-old Brit's debut, embodies all the strengths and trappings of adolescence: equal parts braggadocio, infallibility, and naïveté that often come with a lack of life experience.
Ginger. Paper-thin. Young. These might be the words that first spring to mind when you see a photograph of 19-year-old Archy Marshall, who goes by his stage-moniker King Krule on debut album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon. Listen to his music though, and a different cluster of superlatives probably form ….
Not since Rick Astley has a voice seem so mismatched with a body. King Krule's 6 Feet Beneath the Moon features one Archy Marshall, a 19-year-old with the baby-faced looks of a young Ron Howard, who possesses a huge growling baritone that is earthshaking and soulful. Wisely, his beguiling voice is mixed prominently in his debut, up front, to place an accent on his dexterous, streetwise lyrics and the emotional details in his delivery.
Archy Marshall was welcomed to the land of critical favor by the time he’d finished uploading a string of singles to the internet during the first half of 2010. His immediate grab was, and continues to be, his guttural tenor that spills emotion from his slight, pale, now-19-year-old frame by the bucketful, while sounding at least occasionally like he’s gargling a frog. The dissonance between his appearance and vocality results in the kind of freakish intrigue that a 170 lb.
How do you halt the hype? How does three-plus years of internet dissection and lots of love get to you? How do you say ‘fuck them?’ Do you? Archy Marshall, who’s been King Krule for a few years now, has probably asked these questions too many times. But so too has his audience. Who should be impressed: ’6 Feet Beneath the Moon’ was the only kind of album that King Krule was ever going to put out.There’s some pop pleasure and songs that flow just right.
Hidden behind a smoky wall of xx-nabbed aesthetics and an almost unlistenably irritating voice, King Krule doesn't really know why he's doing what he's doing, except perhaps for the steez of it all. There's a distinct lack of focus, with every one of his debut's 14 tracks playing somewhat like an unfinished draft. As a producer it has to be said that Krule's got a gift with these minimal beats and clean reverbed guitars, especially for a 19-year-old, but his talents are seemingly wasted on his own songs.