King Krule has returned with his first studio record in almost three and a half years, Space Heavy. It’s a lighter, breezier listen than most of his prior work and an album befitting of its summer release date.
Lead single “Seaforth” is one of King Krule’s, who lives and operates under the name Archy Marshall, most accessible, optimistic pop songs, with its refrain of “Baby this faith is all I have.” It reads as a love song with lines like “Our love dissolves this universe” but ends with “They put a heavy space between us,” providing inconclusive results on the relationship Marshall is documenting.
In typical King Krule fashion, Space Heavy is 15 songs, most of medium length, resulting in a listening experience that, while long, is still incredibly palatable and enjoyable, especially given the wide ranges the songs inhabit.
One example of such a song is the wild “Hamburgerphobia,” with its incessant, reeling drumbeat played by longtime King Krule collaborator George Bass that, as off-kilter as it sounds, gives the song its drive, regardless of whether or not the other instruments are playing to the beat. They’re playing less to the beat and more inside it, as if it’s a canvas for their own creativity. Marshall has a knack for tone when it comes to his guitar playing, always selecting the perfect amount of reverb or chorus, exemplified in mid-album plateau and seemingly solo track “Our Vacuum.” He lets himself loose vocally for a brief moment but quickly reigns it back in.
There are moments of delicate instrumentation permeating the record, like the interlude “Flimsier” or the almost entirely instrumental “When Vanishing,” with its swollen strings, dripping guitar strums and subtle, restrained saxophone. It sounds as if a group of incredibly talented musicians gathered to jam with the intention of not disturbing the neighbors.
In an interview with Blackbird Spyplane, Marshall mentioned that much of the record was composed in the key of C major, which, when done lazily, can result in many of the songs sounding indistinguishably similar, but with Marshall’s studio experimentation and the unpredictable sax runs of Ignacio Salvadores. It’s hard for songs to sound anything like each other when they slide across genre and tempo.
Space Heavy’s lighter atmospheres and breezier textures make it one of the strongest records in King Krule’s discography and among the best albums released so far in 2023.
Pre-order Space Heavy by King Krule HERE
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