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Album Review: Man Alive! by King Krule

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UK producer, singer/rapper, and songwriter Archy Marshall, better known as King Krule, releases his fourth studio record, Man Alive! After mixed reviews from The Ooz, King Krule has made a few changes. As much as I loved The Ooz, I felt as if it was too long and drawn out at times. This new record is about 25 minutes shorter which makes it easier to listen to in one sitting.

Right off the bat, we have Cellular. The track greets you with a strange ringing electronic sound, which could be reminiscent of an early 2000s ringtone. I just love the instrumentals that come with his tracks since it's a mesh of several different instruments. You have that ringing sound, a distorted guitar, drums, saxophone, and so much more that makes his tracks unique. On this track, Archy talks about losing connection with people, which some people can relate to with phone addiction.

After that, we come to Supermarché. This track cuts down on a lot of the instrumentals that were present on the previous track, but it does have a haunting, but encapturing guitar sound. However, the message he is trying to portray on this track is a little more important. According to Archy, this track was heavily influenced by being at the supermarket and hearing conversations from other people. He talks about how the media is easily able to sway people to believe anything, even if it's untrue.

Stoned Again is easily my favorite track off the album and has a real, angsty punch to it. The guitar solos and notes throughout the track just pierce through. Archy tells us that even though he was stoned, it hasn't really helped him and made him more anxious. The only reason that he smoked is that his friends were doing it at the time.

The last track slowly melds into Comet Face. The first thing I noticed on this track that the bass line is heightened and is at the main point of the track. Archy talks about Peckham Rye which is a popular place in London. He talks about what he saw or is currently seeing at this place.

The Dream is a quick interlude track that is just under two minutes in length. We finally get to hear a softer side to his voice instead of a lot of angry or hyped up vocals. With a strange first verse, the track ends with him repeating the words, "the dream."

Perfecto Miserable opens up with a phone line that is busy, which makes it sound like Archy is leaving a message to this one person. The track opens up slowly, but halfway through the track, you finally get the spaced out and psychedelic guitar sounds. Archy talks about how this person is his everything, however, when this person leaves or has left him, being alone is a harm to himself.

Alone, Omen 3 was a single and teaser track for the album. It is also one of his most popular tracks from this new album. It's strange to hear more of a relaxed, and almost happy voice from Archy at the beginning of this track. This is probably one of the most experimental tracks off the album which all of the reverbed vocals and instrumentals, as well as the wall of just pure noise at times.

The last track almost runs into the next track, Slinky. There isn't too much going on in this track with just mostly guitar in the first half. We do end up getting a saxophone part in the second half, but it is mostly just noise instead of coherent notes/rhythms. Not really too thrilled with this track as a whole. I think it would have been better to just mix it into Alone, Omen 3.

Airport Antenatal Airplane is another short, under three-minute track. This is another track I'm not too fond of, it just seems like there are so many mellow, underwhelming tracks all in a row. Some people have theorized that this track is about him and his newborn child that was born last year in 2019.

(Don't Let The Dragon) Draag On was another single released for the album. The vocals are quite different from the other tracks because you have Archy's normal vocals, and then another layer on top that seems like it is pitched up, and amplified. According to the artist himself, the track title is a reference to an Adventure Time episode.

Theme for the Cross starts out with this wavering synth sound that fades in and out. Eventually, the saxophone comes in and makes the track complete. However, when Archie comes in with his verse, the track just seems very offsetting with everything that he is talking about. It sounds very negative and dark in nature as the saxophone starts to sound more off-key.

Underclass brings us back to the smooth jazz-like sounds with the beautiful guitar and bass accompaniment. The term underclass usually stands for someone that is of low economic status and possibly someone who doesn't really have much money. At the end, Archy is talking about how he met his girlfriend before they were famous and how she helped him out of a dark place.

The last track smoothly floats into Energy Fleets. While instrumentally alike to the last track, there is a mysterious vibe about this, especially since the lyrics leave you wondering what he is trying to portray. One phrase that is repeated throughout the track is "funny life" or "funny lie". While both make sense, it could slightly change the meaning of the track. Maybe he had intended for it to sound like this.

The last track of the album is Please Complete Thee. It is such an eerie and strange track to end the album. Maybe I am not completely aware of the meaning of the last track, but it just doesn't give me the satisfaction as some of his other tracks on this album. The break with the guitar is nice, but the lyrics are just leaving me to look for a deeper meaning.

Overall Rating: 8/10
Favorite Tracks: Cellular, Stoned Again, Comet Face, Underclass, Energy Fleets

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