King Krule offers alternative outlooks with latest album release

Aine O'Boyle

Archy Marshall offers a glimmer of hope guised under cement mixer tones and rhytmic blues in latest album. 

“Man Alive!” is Marshall’s third album released under the moniker of King Krule, earmarking nearly a decade in music for the 25-year-old artist. 

Set against the backdrop of parenthood without directly addressing it, the album retains the same intensity as Marshall’s previous work, but offers moments of relief that are uncommon to the predecessors. 

Marshall teased fans with the news of an upcoming album back in December when he released a grainy video, recorded on film, entitled “Hey World!”. The video featured the tracks “Perfecto Miserable”, “(Don’t let the dragon) Draag On”, “Energy Fleets” and “Omen 3” that feature on the latest album. 

Both the tracks and video are synonymous with Marshall’s signature style and make the viewer feel as though they are living in a different time frame altogether. 

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Marshall said that he wanted people to feel the music of his latest album “deep in their bones”. He has certainly achieved this ambition, with the theatrical nature of his bluesy tones offering dreamy feelings of optimism, highlighting that even during difficult times music can offer a glimmer of hope and relief from reality. 

“Alone, Omen 3” highlights the busy and volatile nature of life, with Marshall saying “these things will come and go” against scratchy guitar strings, offering the advice “don’t forget you’re not alone”. The song serves as a stark contrast to some of his earlier, more sordid work such as “Lonely Blue” from his album “The OOZ” that laments the loneliness of existence. 

Marshall welcomed the birth of his first-born daughter while recording “Man Alive!”, highlighting a softer side to the artist that unintentionally shines through on this album. 

Like its predecessors, the album was produced at night, with Marshall working closely alongside saxophonist Ignacio Salvadores and co-producer Dilip Harris. 

The album was inspired by the changing surroundings of his life as he moved from London to Chesire to be with his partner as she was heavily pregnant with their daughter. 

The song “Airport Antenatal Airplane” is dedicated to his daughter and features moments of wholesomeness, with Marshall singing “you’re so small from up here”, offering a different view of reality than he usually expresses and highlighting the fact that life can look different from alternative perspectives. 

Marshall told The Guardian: “I see a beauty in everything that I knew was always there, but I can understand it a lot more now,”

“I really like the beauty in the lows, the highs, the hatred and the love, I appreciate humanity, the people around me and the conversation. I’m more open, accepting and interested.” 

“Man Alive!” highlights the changing direction of King Krule as an artist that occurred following the release of his last album “The OOZ”. 

The perception of the artist is changing from the London outlaw we associated him as being back when he first emerged onto the scene, developing into a maturing and well-rounded artist with a unique world view. 

Aine O’Boyle

Image Credit: King Krule album cover