Too Krule for School

King Krule at Barboza, Seattle | 14 December 2013


Nineteen year old Archy Marshall used to go by Zoo Kid but dropped that moniker in favor of the more imposing and grown up sounding King Krule. His album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon has gotten a lot of attention and rightly so. It’s unique and it’s good. Marshall has a voice that defies his young age. He has a baritone and an accent that brings to mind Billy Bragg, Joe Strummer, David Vanian and Paul Weller singing over trip hop, jazz, dub, funk rock-a-billy and punk.

The first thing you notice about Marshall is how young he looks. He and his band came on stage to a sold out Barboza Saturday night looking a little wet behind the ears. The lanky redheaded Marshall sported an over-sized oxford shirt buttoned to the top button. He’s got piercing green eyes and what looked like an attempt at some sideburns. He looked like a boy, but the weird thing as he began to play and as the show progressed he began to look older and older. By the end of the set I was convinced he was at least 35. His voice is dark and troubled and the music is much the same. At this tender age he seems to already understand space, pace and delivery.

The band was tight, effortlessly switching between dub, funk and punk. The songs never sounded cluttered and the band always took their time in delivering the hooks. Marshall was the center of attention, but his band seemed to look to the bassist who held everything down playing with a jazz-like virtuosity that you rarely see in a bass player in a rock band. The live versions of the songs was more fluid than on the record with Marshall choosing to rely on guitar, bass and drums to recreate the songs instead of the electronics and samples that are featured on the record. A good choice given the players he’s got and the fact that with a voice like his.

Their were no complaints from the audience. Everyone around me was in love with it. I kept hearing whispers rise out of the crowd about the band’s talent and I saw many people shaking their heads in disbelief at how good they were. There’s no telling what he may do next with his hands in beat making and hip-hop with his other persona Edgar the Beatmaker. King Krule is man trapped in a boy’s skin and it looks like he’s set up to reign for quite a while.

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