Not since Rick Astley has a voice seem so mismatched with a body. King Krule's 6 Feet Beneath the Moon features one Archy Marshall, a 19-year-old with the baby-faced looks of a young Ron Howard, who possesses a huge growling baritone that is earthshaking and soulful. Wisely, his beguiling voice is mixed prominently in his debut, up front, to place an accent on his dexterous, streetwise lyrics and the emotional details in his delivery. With a snarling, Billy Idol intensity, Archy sings like the type of kid who would be quick to throw a punch without asking questions. This grittiness contrasts with the balladic nature of his songs, which are built from the ground up from a guitar plugged clean into a Twin Reverb, and a love of jazz-style major seventh chords. Johnny Marr and British pop fusion groups like Prefab Sprout play a role in his songwriting, as do electronic-minded Londoners like James Blake. His breakout single, "Out Getting Ribs," demonstrates his ability to break hearts with just a lone guitar and voice, but elsewhere, lo-fi breakbeats permeate the mix subtly, with songs like "Will I Come" and "Neptune Estate" using some tricks from trip-hop, such as samples, loops, and Rhodes piano. With so many varying styles, it's a bit of a surprise that it comes together so effortlessly, but at its core, Krule is showing all sides of his U.K. environment, and the multiple genres laced into the sparse backdrop are held together by an overlying somber grey fog. Peel that back and you have one of the most vital debuts of the year.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Lymangrover
feat: Bill Evans