Whenever I introduce someone to King Krule, I also immediately show them a picture of the guy. I relish the reaction, the tiny surprise that comes when we learn that the voice we’ve just heard, the one that’s more like yelling than singing and so so so goddamn deep, comes from the mouth of the baby-faced and ghostly pale ginger mopped teenaged Archie Marshall. A reaction akin to wow. My sentiments exactly.
Marshall sounds a lot older than 19. His voice in 6 Feet Beneath the Moon is lived in, full of yearning and hurt. He sounds old and soulful, but the music itself, the words and the despair of it all reek with adolescence and the torture of that time. I mean, it makes sense. It’s when we hurt the most, when we hate and love the most, when we’re feeling it for the first time. The old soulful voice, all torture and gripe, it’s that feeling in the pit of your youthful stomach.
I will say this isn’t for everyone. To say Marshall has a very distinctive voice is putting it lightly. To tell you that 6 Feet Beneath the Moon does something very different is an understatement. Here the voice is it. It is his voice, at some points yelling and at others resembling something more like spoken word, and some middling about on a guitar. A guitar that if anything only serves to emphasizes what the voice does. Ocean Bed is a striking example of this, its lyrics verging on exhibitionism, full of sentiments that burgeon on angry and desperate. The vocals push those feeling forward, while set against some gentle plinking of guitar strings. That harsh hard sad, sad anger set against a delicate environment, it’s just really fucking beautiful.
Marshall melodies in moans, his voice is the ultimate instrument on 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, driving the entire album toward crescendos that are all yelling and agony. He starts gentle, but eventually always almost crashes, before reeling back toward a soft and muffled sort of desperation. If music can make you sad, this will do it. Tread lightly, but do tread because it’s all quite beautiful. Sometimes sadness needs to be held, turned in your hands and really felt. 6 Feet Beneath the Moon does that, relishing in anguish to push toward catharsis.