Thursday, December 31, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Archy Marshall — A New Place 2 Drown

When Archy Marshall releases new music, my world stops. Things become blurry, confused. We share a love of all things jangly, boom-bap and introspective all the same. It's a rare musical stew that makes for a combo that has molded me into the person that I am today. The kinship and connection I feel through his music is inexplicable — and yet, totally genealogical, and therefore, sensible. Because we share such similar musical backgrounds, I feel he speaks volumes about my life that I've just not yet been able to convey. It's like he says it, or plays it and I say, "Yeah, that."

So, the inevitability of him not batting a thousand with me has been in the back of my mind for some time. I knew he would eventually release something that didn't immediately floor me and I was perhaps anticipating it even more than the next thing that would.

A New Place 2 Drown was announced very lowkey, rather uncharacteristically, over his rarely used Instagram profile. And, to be completely clear, it is not new music from King Krule. It is simply the soundtrack to a short film and art book, mainly produced by his older brother Jack Marshall (who has also used the name Mr. Gone). And it does sound the piece of something greater, like it's not quite all there. It's a mishmash of Archy's electronic side. Stuttering, post-dubstep rhythms and dreamy melodic synths and keyboard washes fade in and out of each other for about fourty minutes while Archy spits a few bars here and there (he is my favorite MC, after all) and overall, I'm sure most of it was lots of fun to create. And it makes for a really easy listen. It's Archy being himself, perhaps the most personal work he's yet presented — it has been released under his real name, after all. But the song craft, the heart, the soul, the guitar playing (!!!!), it's missing here.

So, here we are, left with a stopgap album that is just simply very good, instead of monumental. Still, the last third or so of this thing is absolutely ace when he declares that, 'She won't forget me ever' and then goes on to blurt out, 'Something in the water distorted her mind. . . GIRL, this place is evil!' It gives me chills how he's able to do that.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with A New Place 2 Drown, it just feels a little short on elevation. Instead of taking a grand step forward after 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, Archy has modestly let loose a snippet of brilliance. It feels more at home with the freebies he used to give away as DJ JD Sports than it does as a proper album. But still, I awaited those bits and beat tape fragments as much as anything released officially, so to have anything new in any regard is something to rejoice, I guess.

Here's to hoping I get that genre-defying masterpiece next time. But for now, A New Place 2 Drown will hit the spot.

Album's defining quote: "We just smoke and let days roll by. . ."