In a sentence:
While all the elements that made Archy Marshall’s first two King Krule albums so great are present, they’re disappointingly submerged on ‘Man Alive!’
Man Alive! is Archy Marshall’s third King Krule
album, and for his existing fanbase, there will be plenty of what they already
love about him in there. It has all the distorted guitars as well Marshall’s
distinctive and almost inhuman gravel-like vocals that have brought him
success. Unfortunately, unlike his previous work, Man Alive! does its
best to hide his undoubted talent with largely vague and elliptical lyrics and
a general feeling of musical anonymity.
There’s very little that makes Man Alive! stand out,
particularly in comparison to the hugely accomplished The Ooz
that cemented his cult status three years ago. It’s the shortest King Krule
album yet at only 41 minutes, but it feels so much longer, and there are large
parts where it can feel incredibly depressing and overly laboured. While there
is the occasional bright spot such as ‘Stoned Again’s
nostalgic vibe which feels almost deceptively positive (“Yeah, she’s my
sweet. My sweet and sour, my honey lemon”) these snippets of genius are too
few and far between beneath the general foggy gloom.
Another reason why Man Alive! is such a hard listen
is the lack of distinction between songs. You really have to pay attention to
work out when one song ends and the next one begins, something that isn’t
helped by the transitions of everyday sounds such the voicemails messages that bridge
the gap between ‘Comet Face’
and ‘The Dream’ and the
sounds of passing traffic between ‘Theme
For The Cross’ and ‘Underclass’.
Although you could make the argument that these provide a brief respite.
If you believe what you read in interviews with Archy
Marshall, then Man Alive! is supposed to be his most uplifting King
Krule release yet, inspired on by his imminent parenthood and his move away south
London to Cheshire. However, in this search for a more positive outlook, it
feels as though the essence of Marshall’s talent has been lost in a collection
of uniformly slate-grey, disappointingly unremarkable tracks that hide any
positivity so well that you’d need a pretty good map to find it. (4/10) (David
Listen to Man Alive! by King Krule here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!
Tags: Archy Marshall, David Allsop, King Krule, Man Alive!
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