‘Man Alive!’ is another genre-defying, experimental triumph for King Krule

‘Man Alive!’ is another genre-defying, experimental triumph for King Krule

Photo by Charlotte Patmore
Words by Jakeb Smith

With seemingly limitless talent and a soul older than the British Empire, on Man Alive!, Archy Ivan Marshall continues to push the sonic boundaries of his King Krule moniker.

The album delivers on all of the South London songwriter’s abundant promise, mixing genres, themes and production techniques to create something completely otherworldly yet stunningly familiar. 

‘Stoned Again’ is a powerful iteration on his dark jazz sound, with a distorted electric bass writhing to the rising arguments of a drunken brass section. Marshall’s vocals take an aggressive turn, as he alternates between shouting and rapping, his disembodied voice yelping desperate harmonies from the shadows. 

‘Comet Face’ uses the same elements, but sees Marshall more restrained as he sings over twisted vocal samples and the crashing of metal. ‘Perfecto Miserable’ takes a simple chord progression and drapes it in so much reverb it could be the unrequited love letter of an intergalactic merman. 

And on it goes. ‘Airport Antenatal Airplane’ ventures briefly into trip hop territory while ‘Please Complete Thee’ handles experimental rock with fabulous aplomb. They make Man Alive! a perfect example of King Krule’s appeal – Marshall is so inventive, so captivating, so apparently wracked by feeling that it’s impossible not to listen in awe. There really isn’t a dull moment.