On November 19th, King Krule released a 16-minute short film/extended music video called Hey World!, directed by his partner and mother of his newborn daughter, Charlotte Patmore. King Krule AKA Archie Marshall’s music is no stranger to cinematic endeavors. His last album cycle for The Ooz was capped off with a 30-minute lunar live set, and his music videos have been known to come through with a Hitchockian swagger or surrealist spin.
Hey World marked a new chapter; featuring Marshall performing new tracks solo in front of stark backdrops, tenderly shot by Patmore’s grainy lens. The tracks teased on Hey World carry a particular warmth to them, which may be a result of fatherhood, but is undoubtedly an indicator of the direction where his music is headed.
“(Don’t Let the Dragon) Draag On” –which also appears on Hey World!– comes as the first single from King Krule’s new album Man Alive! The studio version is a murky return to the world of King Krule. “I hang my head for those who ain’t been held too close in times of pain.” Over a meditative guitar loop, the track inches along at a similarly crawling pace as The Ooz’s lead single, “Czech One.”
The ever-prolific Archie Marshall, who also records under DJ JD Sports, Edgar the Beatmaker, and The Return of Pimp Shrimp has established himself as one of the most restlessly creative talents of the era. Part of the beauty of his recordings as King Krule is the sense of character and continuity that he builds with each recording.
“(Don’t Let the Dragon) Draag On”, co-written by Nilufer Yanya, is a further chapter in King Krule’s existential wanderings through dread and alienation. “When the ceiling drips, the room’s bathed in grey” makes reference to tracks on Krule’s debut album, which explore similar themes of depression. As the song ends, Marshall mutters a final question: “You think those blue giants feel the same? You think they ever have these days?” (The line is in reference to the Draags, or the blue aliens of a faraway planet in Rene Laloux’s 1973 Fantastic Planet.) Ten years into his musical career, Marshall is still drawn to the same otherworldly misery that showed up in his earliest songs.
The black-and-white video for “Draag On”, directed by Marshall himself, follows the penetrating intensity of the song’s lyrics; as a slow pan drifts backward, it reveals Marshall being burned at the stake beneath a full moon (another trademark Krule-ism). The chilling sensibilities at play here work in contrast to the intimacy promised in Hey World! So, just when it seemed as if Marshall was going to take a turn towards the warm and paternal, he appears to have shifted back into the tortured character languishing beneath a full moon.
Man Alive! Arrives on 2/21 via True Panther/Matador.
Man Alive! Artwork (By Archie’s brother Jack Marshall) + Tracklist:
03 Stoned Again
04 Comet Face
05 The Dream
06 Perfecto Miserable
07 Alone, Omen 3
09 Airport Antenatal Airplane
10 (Don’t Let The Dragon) Draag On
11 Theme For The Cross
13 Energy Fleets
14 Please Complete Thee