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King Krule - Man Alive! (Album Review)

Thursday, 05 March 2020 Written by Jacob Brookman

On his third album as King Krule, south London musician Archy Marshall has delivered a treatise of intense darkness and of ghastly drudgery, with spiky, arachnid guitar accompanying boxy drums and vocals that sound laconic, spontaneous and shitfaced.

A good example of this is the enduringly titled Perfecto Miserable. Here, above depressive guitarz, Marshall murmurs: “You’re the only thing that makes me feel alright.” Slowly the song builds before tremolo chords wash over and double-tracked, low slung wailing arrives. “Another lonely niiiiight,” he concludes. Perfecto Miserable indeed.

King Krule exists in a peculiar space. Like Kate Tempest, Sleaford Mods and Billy Bragg, he is a musician who combines intense artistic intellect with a screamingly working class persona.

Despite this, he doesn’t really sound like any of those musicians. Instead, a lot of ‘Man Alive!’ recalls Graham Coxon’s miserablist work on Blur’s ‘13’. It’s a highly particular sound that is actually shot through with a lot of humour.

This is also represented on Alone Omen 3, which matches up a ‘90s trip-hop beat with spoken word stream-of-consciousness lyrics and more of that guitar sludge. The wall of sound production means that the lyrics are not always clear, but when they do emerge, as they do here into the marvellous Slinky, they always seem to be saying something interesting: “I dreamt I was here before / Above wet pavements / Across deep blue skies she would soar / Leaving her engravement.”

While there are no particularly memorable tunes on 'Man Alive!', the album retains interest throughout. Some of that is down to the sheer quality of the music making, and some is down to what a fascinating artist Marshall is. It's a record that creates an incredibly rich sense of time and place. And that time and place is a hungover (or still drunk) sunrise in Peckham after sleeping in a park after a night of partying, with the guilt and anxiety and shame arriving in waves.

King Krule Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu March 19 2020 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Sat March 21 2020 - GLASGOW Barrowland Ballroom
Sun March 22 2020 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Tue March 24 2020 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Wed March 25 2020 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton

Click here to compare & buy King Krule Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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