‘Man Alive!’ cannot be confined

Tom Antrim, Staff Writer

King Krule creates a blend of post punk, contemporary hip hop and indie on his album that was released in February of last year.

Courtesy of King Krule

“Man Alive!” is an expressive record that seamlessly blends many different genres together.

The album contains hints of many other genres and styles of music besides the ones listed above, and that is one of the greatest things about the album.

There is not a dull moment on the record between the shifting of different genres and energetic guitar and synth parts, and the in-your-face bass tone.

Archy Marshall’s vocal delivery is both raw and emotional, as it is on other King Krule releases.

His voice wallows and drones in some songs, and in other tracks his voice is projected through a layer of distortion and rawness that causes goosebumps.

The thumping and deep bass guitar that is implemented into many of these tracks is spectacular.

The opening track “Cellular” starts with twinkling sound effects and a slow bass riff that is accompanied by a deep guitar tone.
The bass speeds up a little bit around the 30-second mark, and each note drones and thumps as it is played.

Marshall’s voice echoes and accompanies the instrumentation nicely, the drums are reminiscent of 80s new wave.

The song is atmospheric, and it represents a mood that is somber and slightly chaotic, which is probably pretty accurate to how the artist feels.
The lyrical messages seem to be centered around Marshall thinking about a past lover.

He uses metaphors to represent this past relationship and how he hurt whoever he was in a relationship with.
He mentions, “I left her dying, she was still crying. And now she’s lying in my head.”

It is obvious that there is some sense of longing for his former partner because he blatantly mentions it at the end of the track.

Another stand out track is “Comet Face.”

The track has the energy of Joy Division and the eccentricity of The Cure.

One of the most enjoyable things about this record is Marshall’s ability to grab from multiple different genres, while creating his own unique sound.

The bass line in the track is simple, but it carries its weight nicely, and compared to some of the slower tracks on this record, it is refreshing and nice to hear a faster-paced song.

The track uses weird sound effects throughout that only add to the eerie feeling that the song creates.

When the track approaches the three-minute mark, more melodic instrumentation is incorporated, and this grabs the listener’s attention once more.
Marshall’s tendencies to add new and interesting sound effects and melodic instrumentation add to the versatility and spontaneity of this song and the record.

He also showcases his raw voice and subtle effort of displaying passion.

Each track flows well into the next one; most of the tracks are moody and have a quiet versus loud contrast.

Some of the tracks start off calm and timid and eventually erupt into passionate crescendos. “Perfecto Miserable” comes to mind right away.

The track starts with soft guitar strumming and a sample from a voicemail.

Marshall starts singing, “You’re my everything, you make me feel alright. You’re the only thing that makes me feel alright.”

The guitar is drenched in reverb and Marshall sounds like he is an old man that has been hiding in a cave for decades.

The entire album is soaked in melancholy and gloom. Marshall has his own way of crafting music in a sinister way with moments of tranquility and beauty.

“Perfecto Miserable” gradually starts solemn and slow, and the track gradually builds momentum.

Around the two-minute mark of the song, the instrumentation starts to build up in sound and the guitars and synths start making a pleasant jangling sound that can only be described as pure bliss.

This does not last long, though, with the song crashing down to a soft spoken, quiet tempo as the track comes to an end.

Referring to the hip hop elements on this record once more, “(Don’t let the Dragon) Draag On” is the most rap-sounding song on this record.

The smooth guitar, deep and mysterious vocals and the beat make this song seem like it should be on an Earl Sweatshirt record.

While this is not a standout track, it is a unique and superb instrumental nonetheless.

I can appreciate King Krule’s conscious effort at making a record that cannot be confined to one genre or label. He is an artist that makes it abundantly clear that some musicians cannot be defined by labels.

King Krule has created an album that is truly special and that will be talked about for years.

This album is consistent, but diverse at the same time.

He implements themes of slow ballads with thumping bass lines, to moderate paced tracks that represent 80s post punk.

He also shows hints of classic hip hop, while putting his own twist on the genre.

King Krule creates an exciting environment of sounds with constant twists and turns that dive into new music territory for the 26-year-old.

In a time where most music is bland and sounds the same, Marshall has created a record that people can be excited about.

Many people will be able to enjoy this record due to the versatility of genres, tempos, and soundscapes.