Released: November 8, 2011
Label: True Panther Sounds
Review by: Allison Johnson
Teenage sensation King Krule, born Archy Marshall in South East London and formerly known by the stage name Zoo Kid, is making waves with his debut self-titled EP King Krule. At first glance, Marshall looks like just another freckle faced, skinny, red headed youngster from the UK, but the moment he opens his mouth, an unexpectedly deep, baritone voice soaked in melancholy emerges. With just five tracks, in only thirteen minutes King Krule fully expresses what it is like to be so young, but at the same time feel so old. His pensive and at times painfully bleak lyrics will make you think twice about the idea that growing up is merely a time to party, and replace it with thoughts of what a truly restless, uncertain journey it can be. Lyrics aside, the music arrangement on this album is beautifully constructed and never overdone, featuring whimsical synth sounds, 808 drums, soulful guitar strumming, haunting standup bass and classic keyboards.
The opening track “36N63” is an ethereal sounding instrumental, composed of simple guitar strumming, jazzy bass picking and quiet drum loops, effectively setting the tone for the rest of the EP which flows with grace from start to finish. We get the first taste of Marshall’s lyrics on the second track “Bleak Bake,” a song in which the title rings true to its meaning. It starts off with bouncing keys and a clearing of the throat, and then in come the beats and the drum pops. The not so care-free teen proceeds to sing "My heart got hold of my head and ripped it to its seams…now I’m covered in blood on the bed and it’s a familiar scene.” On the short but sweet track “Lead Existence,” Krule starts off with simple chords and shuffling background beats, then after just a minute, abruptly ends with the thought provoking line “"I lost the soul to my blues, a long time ago,” something you would expect to hear from your cynical grandfather, not a seventeen year old boy. The longest and most developed track on the EP is “The Noose of Jah City,” a tune which received praise and talk of a possible collaboration from rapper Jay Electronica. Marshall’s choice of words seem autobiographical, stating “And my soul's left to drown, suffocated in concrete, it took a hold of me, put me on repeat,” not straying from the blatantly honest lyrical journey that is King Krule. All in all, Archy Marshall manages to capture the sounds and ideas of what it’s like to be young and totally disillusioned before your time.