Review: King Krule – King Krule

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I like lots of things about King Krule. I like his vaguely irritating voice – like an odd mix of Suggs and Jamie T. I like that his songs sound like early morning cigarettes on cold days. I particularly like his red hair. Archy Marshall, having ditched old moniker Zoo Kid, is barely legal, but his music is so good you’d never guess. I’m going to be honest here – I like it, a great deal, but my mind isn’t blown.

I have no idea what any of it means – the lyrics, or the noises, or the titles – but I like it anyway. Krule’s music is light on the stark, medium on the minimal and high on the wounded. The EP slides open into ‘363N63’ with gentle instrumentals, rich bass strumming and polyphonic flutters. It’s a real stunner, actually. Second track ‘Bleak Bake’ is angsty and assonant, with swells of sound punctuating that strange, strange voice. As the EP reaches its midpoint, it becomes more beat-driven, though maintains that same melancholy tone. I’m not sure quite how King Krule has captured a sense of nostalgia for early winter 2011 even before it comes to an end.

Closing track ‘The Noose of Jah City’ might just be the highlight of the album. ‘It eats away the brain,’ he says, and it really does. Lyrically, the track is complex and poetic, while the music is a perfect blend of jazzy chords, clumsy bedroom finger-picking and a far-off ambulance siren. Lovely. The EP has a slightly cavernous feel: the vocals appear to be coming from deep down and far away, and certain instrumental moments sound a little like a dolphin in tears. Add to that a sorrowful undercurrent, and the experience is practically submarine. This is not unlike James Blake, but much, much better.

I do not love this EP. I like it, which is probably clear, and I think there is something quite wonderful about it that I can’t quite put my finger on. In short: gently dubby, bluesy tracks with dark introspective lyrics sung in a strange voice. There are surely great things to come from this intriguing young man.

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