The release date for Archy Marshall’s debut, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, falls on his 19th birthday. Most young adults are caught up with universal quibbles such as college life, or focusing on finding a full time occupation, but Marshall isn’t like most people who are his age. Marshall goes by the moniker of King Krule, which was inspired by a villain from the Donkey Kong video game series, and before that, was known as Zoo Kid. His Zoo Kid project dates as far back as 2010, or even earlier, as it was the year he released his first demos, much of these landing on 6 Feet Beneath The Moon. “Out Getting Ribs” was the track that garnered the attention and much praise from the blogosphere. Three years later, now under the name King Krule, Marshall had released an (excellent) EP and a single, leading up to the release of 6 Feet Beneath The Moon. King Krule impressed many with his scraggly vocals combined with mature lyrical themes; themes that you would not come expect from a songwriter of his age (i.e. American tween-pop). It goes for the same with his songwriting, from the bright, yet melancholic surf rock demos during his Zoo Kids days, to the hollow-sounding; reverb-heavy EP, where he begins to utilize electronic percussions, reminiscent to the trip-hop scene in the UK during the 90’s.
6 Feet Beneath The Moon was officially announced a month and a half before its release date, however, there was buzz generating amongst bloggers months before any formal announcement was made. Much of the album is made up of tracks Marshall had recorded under his Zoo Kid moniker or song that he had written much earlier, such as lead single, “Easy Easy,” which was written by Marshall at the age of 12. Zoo Kid tracks such as “Out Getting Ribs,” “Ocean Bed,” and “Baby Blue,” made the cut to the album, and were re-recorded. While the tracks deserved the studio treatment, there is a bit left to be desired from these tracks. There is an improvement in terms of sound quality, but in the process, the raw emotions that were noted in these Zoo Kid tracks, most noticeable on “Out Getting Ribs.” However, these changes would only irk long time Krule listeners, but not too much.
Despite writing these collection of songs at a young age, Marshall displays a sense of maturity, on songs through his deep bellowing vocals and his lyricism, wailing: “and when your dead-end job/spinning away your life/ you feel little inside,” on “Easy Easy.” Marshall tackles topics such as heart-break, teen angst, and hopelessness, all of them even being addressed in one song, such as the saxophone drenched, “A Lizard State.”
The album clocks in at 52 minutes over the span of 14 tracks, which is one of the minor flaws in otherwise an enjoyable album; the album has too many tracks. None of the tracks were skip-worthy, as the entire album is a gem, however, it lacks consistency. The tracks vary in styles, tempo and instrumentation, and when playing through the album, I was caught off guard when going from the quiet “Cementility,” to the loud, upbeat “A Lizard State.”
As it will make numerous “album of the year” lists, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon is a testament of King Krule’s talent and potential, as his debut will no doubt impress and leave listeners itching for more material from Mr. Marshall.