19 Dec 2017

We review... King Krule's homecoming

Archy, the peoples South London boy is back in a big way. Rarely playing UK concerts, and often announcing them with no more than an instagram post on the morning of the show. To little surprise it has taken me 5 years to see the elusive musician, who has gone under a multitude of different aliases; Pimp The Shrimp, Edgar The Beatmaker, Zoo Kid, DJ JD Sports, Archy Marshall; and finally after years in awaiting I caught my break to see the innovator at a gig in his hometown of London at his two night sold out show at KOKO.

My love for Archy started at a time when I’d just skimmed the surface of hip-hop, listening to an album like 6 feet beneath the moon opened my mind to the stylistics and fusion of genres. The album is a beautiful introduction to beats and free flowing verse, with elements of hip-hop, jazz, rockabilly vocals and punk. Through listening to Archy’s music and reading interviews, I found the art of Jean Michel Basquiat, listened to the music of Bill Evans, been introduced to other music from the hotbed of the South London music scene. There is so much culture and depth to his music to be explored.

Among my favourites of the night; A Slide In (New Drugs) the song is reminiscent of the early Zoo Kid demos, a strummed guitar with wailing vocals over the top, however it changes when the song transitions into this booming fusion of saxophone and bass. The song is the essence of what Archy’s music is to me. I feel there may have been a lack of simple, stripped backed songwriting on The Ooz, in some places I feel like his artistic freedom and control has exceeded the basis of the way the songs are written.

However seeing the King at KOKO reinforced the essence of Archy’s music, the songs were very stripped backed, and the  saxophone was improvised and the music was direct and off the cuff, he sang in his moody gritty baritone voice.

At KOKO it was obvious how devoted his fanbase are, there's a feeling amongst his fans like we've grown up with him, he was only mid-teens when he started uploading music under the alias Zoo-Kid; we’ve seen his music evolve and change. Also Archy’s honesty and musical integrity, is a reason people feel such a connection to the young man. This was evident in his performance, his grit and passion, his intensity was infectious, the crowd fed off of his energy.

Another favourite he played off the new album, was Half Man Half Shark, the rhythmic section of the drums and bass were hard hitting and bellowing- initiating this automatic sway to the beat in the audience. The guttural vocals ‘Racing through my body’ created a feeling amongst the audience that was electric.

His set was best summarised by one of the first songs in the repertoire, Has This Hit. The anger and desperation in the singer's voice could be cut like a knife in the venue, everything sung was so sincere. It felt as if despite the success he’s had and the arrival of the new album, he’s exactly the same as where he left off with 6 feet beneath the moon, still pushing for something better, still uncontent. The build up was beautiful, with this huge crescendo of symbols, and repeating guitar riffs, until Archy’s vocals just belt over the top in this wailing clarity... Has This Hit?

(Words: George Docking)