Man Alive! – King Krule
★ ★ ★ ★
After releasing The Ooz to great critical acclaim in 2017, Archy Marshall, better known by his stage name King Krule, returns with Man Alive. It’s an extremely impressive entry in Marshall’s discography, imbued with an irresistible energy that, on paper, should completely contrast with its sludgy tones and signature mumbled vocals.
‘Cellular’ is a fantastic opening track with a melody that harkens back to Marshall’s 2015 electronic project, A New Place 2 Drown. ‘Stoned Again’ perfectly distils the essence of urban youth depression, but later tracks such as ‘Energy Fleets’ showcase a far more optimistic, forward-thinking side of Marshall that we rarely see – “why stop reading when the page is ‘bout to turn?”. However, ‘Perfecto Miserable’ is a comparative dirge, where Marshall initially gently moans about his struggles with loneliness before being accompanied by his traditional backing screams and a slowly swelling riff.
With a shift away from the more straightforward, guitar-focused crooning on his previous albums, Marshall refines his style to a pin-sharp point and still manages to innovate on his sound. Where The Ooz enveloped the listener in a darkly atmospheric cityscape, Man Alive allows the listener to become immersed in Marshall’s very own mind.
Matthew Derwin – Music Editor