King Krule, aka Archy Marshall, has a cool fucking voice. It’s a type of sneering dirty British that walks through brown street puddles as it enunciates. It’s held so low in the jaw that when you imagine his face it’s held in a grimace. Just with his voice, you see a pasty white Brit in thick boots throwing punches too quick and taking bumps of cocaine off a half-cracked nicotine-stained fingernail. He has the voice of that friend your girlfriend hates. My mother would hear that crony voice over the phone and say, “I don’t know what it is about that boy, but there’s just something about him I don’t like.” It’s the voice of someone that, each time they leave your house you think, “Ya, that piece of shit stole something for sure this time,” then you go directly over to your valuables to check and see if they’re still there.
So, what would you do with this pugilistic voice? Become what it sounds like? Vocal work? What Archy did was use this voice to tell a story, to rap. But King Krule’s style is not bouncy and hard, it moves around corners like a fog. It’s got the ambiance of dark jazz record, the beats of trip hop, and the anger of punk. It speaks of insomnia, depression, lost love, and planets. It’s impossible to not to be intrigued by this compelling combination, this character. It’s riding the tube to work at 7 am and seeing this crusty punk kid come in with a bloody nose and dark rings under his eyes, open jaw, and tears running down his face. He keeps sniffing and wipes his nose on the back of one of his black fingerless gloves. What’s his story? Where’s he headed? You look over and catch his eyes for a second. There’s something in him you recognize in yourself. He shouts, “Wha da fuck yer lookan’ at?” and stares at you wide-eyed. The other people in the train look at you as if to say, “Stop looking. The more you look the more likely it is to explode.” King Krule’s records are a glimpse into that character, that person. It’s like, instead of looking away and saying nothing like you’re supposed to, you offer him a coffee. Surprisingly, he accepts. You begin to do it weekly and becomes friends. You learn just how sensitive he is, how deeply he loves, how much his heart breaks.
This is the best attempt of this style thus far. It feels the most honest and at moments you can feel a dreary U.K. rain outside your door. I already enjoy his records, and this one for sure, but I’m keeping a very open eye on King Krule. I believe there is better to come. I feel like there is more to investigate in this character. But for now, take a listen. It’s incredibly well done.