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Album Review
6 Feet Beneath the Moon

6 Feet Beneath the Moon
by King Krule

Label
True Panther Sounds
Rating

Review Date
11th September 2013
Reviewed by
Nick Miller

The idea of King Krule is easy to get caught up in, although on first sight it might be hard to understand why. Strikingly red-haired and slim, Krule (real name Archy Marshall) looks like the most unexceptional British teenager you could imagine. Uniformly clad in buttoned-up over-sized shirts and loosely rolled slacks, he gives the immediate impression of a gawky school kid.

Sixteen when he released his first single and nineteen on the day that debut album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon was released, Marshall has a guttural, bastard howl worthy of a much more experienced soul. In it you can hear flecks of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, John Lydon – punk poets who Marshall is bound to have shaped himself after. That same voice is also uniquely English, primarily in its heavy South East London accent, but also in the language used and subject matter Marshall covers. Album opener and single ‘Easy Easy’, for example, is a portrait of a bored London youth set to the sound of a lone guitar. After spinning a story about being ripped off at the local Tesco’s, Marshall states his mantra for getting through the drudgery: “When positivity seems hard to reach/I keep my head high and my mouth shut/Cause if you going through hell/We just keep going”.

It’s a grim yet hopeful start to 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, however as the album progresses some of that hope begins to drop away. Many of the songs here focus on the stark pointlessness of being young, when angst about life and love both seem to peak. It makes for cynical listening at times, so it’s a good thing that even the most morose of King Krule songs are beautifully framed. On album-mid-point ‘Cementality’, for example, Marshall contemplates the intricacies of suicide by falling over the sounds of a mournful organ: “See the cement has never meant so much/my hot head cools to the stone cold touch/I look to settle my seed with the dust/brain leave me be, can’t you see, that these eyes are shut”.  Other songs on the album dabble across genres - ‘A Lizard State’ and ‘The Krockadile’ both share jazz influences, while ‘Neptune Estate’ and ‘Bathed in Gray’ have their reference points in British hip-hop and dub. This experimentation could be jarring, but Marshall takes these styles and melds them together into something consistent and compelling, where the various sounds at play rarely feel out-of-place.

Displaying such seamless complexity for his age is what has earned Archy Marshall his hype. And on listening to 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, it’s easy to buy into. It’s an amazingly precocious record, one which showcases an exciting vocalist while alluding to his depth of musical knowledge. However it’s also a record made by a nineteen year old. And while that’s an important part of what makes it interesting, it also means that the one thing on this record that isn’t nuanced is its sentiment.


Links
kingkrule.co.uk/‎




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