Album Review – ‘A New Place 2 Drown’ by Archy Marshall (a.k.a. King Krule)

Archy Marshall’s debut full length EP 6 Feet Beneath the Moon (released under the moniker King Krule) left many listeners searching for more, the reverb-dripping guitars and drawling baritone voice creating an eerie atmosphere which was quite distinctive to other music being released at the time. Many thought Marshall would deliver, but his social media presence declined, and he seemingly vanished, rumours flying left and right regarding his next project.

He released several hip-hop mixtapes under the alias Edgar the Beatmaker, but never with a record label, and never with full publicity backing him.

Naturally, people got excited when A New Place 2 Drown was announced, not only a musical album but also a collection of photography, art, and poetry. However, fans of King Krule shouldn’t go into this record hoping to have a similar experience to his debut – this isn’t really a sophomore effort, it’s the debut of another side of Archy Marshall.

Yes, his voice is still strewn over the album, but they don’t take centre-stage. They wash in and out the midst of trip-hop beats – synths, sputtering percussion, and industrial drips and clanks replace Marshall’s guitar during the 37 minutes. He wanders across various genres, picking and choosing facets from each to feature in his much improved production.

However, although it was an enjoyable in-the-moment listen, I found it difficult to actually remember any of the tracks once they finished – ebbing and flowing into each, perhaps detrimentally so, it just feels like there’s something missing despite the fact that there’s plenty going on. 7-minute closer ‘Thames Water’ invites the listener to muted beats, jazzy electronic piano chords, distorted vocals, giving way to an upbeat electronic loop. And yet, it dissipates before it actually gets going.

“Somethin’ in the water contorted my mind
Distorted in the water with war in our eyes
This inner city life treats me like shit
Somethin’ in the water contorted her mind”

Lyrically, there’s not much that’s memorable either – in fact the only line that really stayed in my head after multiple listens was “She plays me Barry White, all night//She drifts into the light” on the track ‘Ammi Ammi’, and not because it struck me as clever and interesting. He recreates early hardcore hip-hop in atmosphere alone.

Whether or not this was by stylistic choice, it’s easy to get lost whilst listening to this album.

The track that stuck out to me the most was “The Sea Liner MK 1”, a drum track based around what seems like the sound of snooker balls colliding, a thudding bass drum providing the backbone to that snare. It’s a Burial-like beat, and Marshall’s delivery on the rap begins slightly weak but definitely picks up and flows well towards the end of his verse.

On it’s own, as a stand-alone album, it’s not much to sniff at – combined with the book released with the help of his brother however, documenting the pairs’ relationship, it has some distinguishing factors and establishes the duo’s style.

A change in direction and style yes, but perhaps not for the best –

This article was written by Mo Hafeez

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