QUICKSPINS: King Krule – Man Alive!

Archy Marshall’s third album as King Krule is his most abrasive to date

Although Man Alive! showcases the same influences that made King Krule (aka Archy Marshall) an underground success—the rhythms of hip hop and trip-hop, the harmonies of jazz, the abrasiveness of punk—his latest LP is harsher and more aggressive than its predecessor.

Marshall’s third LP as King Krule ditches the pristine beauty of 2017’s The Ooz for chaotic drums, noisy guitars and thundering bass lines. Still, the London-based singer-songwriter sounds wearier this time around. Although he can still rip out a convincing punk howl, he is generally quieter and more reserved, never quite returning to the confident swagger of “Biscuit Town” or “Dum Surfer.”

“This place doesn’t move me,” he admits feebly on “Please Complete Thee.” “Everything just seems to be numbness around.” His list of guest musicians is noticeably shorter this time around as well—which is a shame because so much of the magic of The Ooz came from his chemistry with his collaborators. Thankfully, he brings back saxophonist Ignacio Salvadores, whose baritone sax lines swim ominously throughout the album. Man Alive! is less ambitious, less expansive, and less beautiful than The Ooz, but if you fell in love with King Krule’s music for its melancholy and musings on loneliness and depression, you won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 8/10

Trial track: “(Don’t Let the Dragon) Draag On”

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