There are a lot of things that distinguish Archie Marshall (aka King Krule, aka Zoo Kid) from his musical contemporaries. His groveling, grooving blue-eyed soul. His shimmering, effervescent shade of red hair. His puzzling penchant for nostalgia-induced, bare-bones alternative classicism. Since signing with XL Records at the tender age of 17, the singer-songwriter has beckoned a summit of well-deserved anticipation over his debut album Six Feet Under The Moon (the release of which coincided with Marshall’s nineteenth birthday). Sparking the collaborative interest of Frank Ocean and noted for his immodest reaction to Beyoncé‘s appraisal of his music, King Krule might demonstrate a new generation of musical artistry. He is suspended within his own, ominous brand of grimy, idiosyncratic sentiments, exposing the hapless, melancholic underbelly of his conscious through emotively penetrating lyricism.
Six Feet Under The Moon quickly establishes a pervasive sense of musical diversity with the exuberantly stoic single “Easy Easy”. Here lie mysteriously integrated inflections of archaic soul doused in rhythm and blues. Lasting impressions of the track, however, evoke a languid, open-aired monotony that delves more into contemporary urbanism than Motown mimicry. In more ways than one, King Krule’s debut record mirrors this year’s earlier release of Vondelpark‘s Seabed, which similarly navigates a route of musical experimentalism through the coupling of alternative rock and modernist rhythm and blues. It’s a distinctly regionally sound that has become customary of London’s musical aesthetic, both revering and expounding upon the often neglected niche of classic soul. King Krule’s own voice does much to arouse fond recollections of pastime artists like Barry White and Issac Hayes, which distinguishes itself as particularly menacing and often confusing. As a vocalist he does little imitate the tonal prowess of the aforementioned soul maestros. Instead, his tonality is a dense conglomeration of slovenly, disheveled, and gloriously imperfect elucidation; songs like “Border Line” and “Has This Hit?” expressing a jagged-edged intimacy through heartsick bellows. Watch a personal interview with King Krule by Dazed Digital above and his artfully discomforting music video for “Rock Bottom” below.