Even those who have been following King Krule (aka Archy Marshall) since his self-released 2010 EP U.F.O.W.A.V.E. (released under the moniker Zoo Kid) are still amazed by the idiosyncrasies of his music. It’s not just the songwriting itself but also his voice. Marshall, a slight, wiry red-haired Brit, sings with a deep baritone that ranges from melancholic moan to gravelly roar. Looking at him, it’s hard to imagine that voice coming out of this lanky 23 year-old.
Yet, it does, and his crooning is instantly recognizable to his modest but loyal following of fans, who came out to last Thursday’s sold-out show at the Paradise with energy and enthusiasm. Fresh off releasing The Ooz, his second full length album, King Krule found support for his jazzy-punk grooves with some help from the opening act, Brooklyn’s experimental punks Show Me The Body. If you’re looking for a connection between the two acts, both have collaborated with New York’s Ratking in the past.
King Krule’s lyrics — especially fan favorite “Easy Easy” and just about every track off The Ooz — sound like Billy Bragg wandering the streets of London at dawn after a night out at the clubs. His characters are desperately yearning and seeking some impossible-to-find salvation (“And now you spend your evenings /Searching for another life,” Marshall belts out on “Easy Easy.”)
While his albums often explore ambient spaces, his live performances bring a Pixies-like variety in the way he and his backing band can flip an energetic switch to up the track’s intensity. Though the songs often eschew the standard verse-chorus-verse format, there is still an anthemic quality to the songwriting; and the crowd did their homework, singing along to just about every line. While The Ooz is still fresh, the songs from 2013’s 6 Feet Beneath The Moon got resounding responses, especially opener “Has This Hit?,” “A Lizard State” and “Easy Easy.”
At the end of the night, King Krule came out for a quick one song encore. He came out by himself at first and began to play the low-key “Out Getting Ribs.” As the rest of the band joined him onstage, they sent the crowd off with as uplifting a line as they are capable of: “Don’t you worry about a thing.” And no one did.