King Krule — Man Alive! — Album Review

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DIY | Indie | Alternative

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The third and newest outing from Archie Marshall’s musical alias, King Krule, might’ve just been one of my most highly anticipated albums of the last couple of years, let alone 2020, after how much I enjoyed his beautifully atmospheric second album The Ooz.

Considering that his 2017 masterpiece became one of my favourite albums of the whole decade, his new album, Man Alive!, had some pretty big boots to fill. Although, while most people seemed to enjoy Krule’s first album, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, The Ooz seemed to divide opinion a little more. While I was obviously on the side of people who loved the 2017 album, there were others that argued that the music found on The Ooz was far less engaging.

Unfortunately, the way I felt about Man Alive! was how I imagined those people felt about that previous project.

I would say that my worries toward this album began when the second teaser track, “Alone, Omen 3” was released, and it seemed to set up a far less layered, and more straight forward sound. This would ultimately mean that the fundamental element behind why I enjoy King Krule’s music so much, was going to be either very scarce, or non-existent.

The third and final teaser, “Cellular”, slightly counter-balanced my worry towards Man Alive! as a full album, and I thought it to be a pretty solid song. This would later be revealed to be the leading track of the album, with first place on the track list.

I wanted to highlight “Cellular” specifically, because it is arguably the closest thing to having an upbeat track on this album. While in the case of the Ooz, you have a handful of tracks with an energy to them, including “Half Man Half Shark”, “Vidual”, “Emergency Blimp”, and at a push, “Dum Surfer”, this newer album barely has anything in the way of tracks that share a similar energy and atmosphere.

Furthermore, Man Alive! feels too abundant in its slow, sludgy, melancholic ballads for my enjoyment. the full project really does seem to drag on considerably, feeling more like an hour and a half than its actual runtime of just over 40 minutes. If I was going to use an apt metaphor for this album, it’s like wading through a thick swamp, with very few stones to climb up on and pull ones self out of the musical molasses.

While I adored Krule’s first two efforts for having that sense of gritty sorrow etched into its atmosphere, but that kind of sorrow overshadows absolutely everything else on this project, and it definitely shouldn’t. As a result, it really weighs the album down considerably.

Granted, there were a few flashes of enjoyment to still be found on this project, but I was hoping that a teaser track which I just found to be “pretty good”, wouldn’t be one of the key highlights from this album.

It really does pain me to say, that my fears toward King Krule’s third album have been justified today. While it isn’t a plainly bad album, it pales in comparison to its two predecessors, and is by a long stretch, my least favourite King Krule album to date.

Favourite Tracks: Cellular | Stoned Again | Comet Face

Least Favourite Track: Energy Fleets

XL Recordings Ltd

6/10

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My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

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