After being discovered at the early age of 18, King Krule's Archy Marshall has always had the spotlight firmly fixed on him throughout his career so far. His debut album '6 Feet Beneath The Moon' praised him as the next Billy Bragg or Joe Strummer with its bleak yet captivating post-punk sound, and this was once again quickly realised on his follow-up 'The Ooz', which went on to earn him a Mercury Prize nomination and a place on dozens of Albums Of The Year lists. Now after three years away, he returns with his third studio effort 'Man Alive!', a record that sees him take on a more experimental guise.
Between the release of this album and his last, Marshall became a father for the first time and it seems that fatherhood has given him a new lens in which to work through. While his previous material all fixed firmly on this dark and gloomy direction, there are far more moments on 'Man Alive!' that feel brighter than before. Not to say that he has now lost his edge, but there is definitely a new atmosphere running through this new collection. With a bit more pace and energy threaded throughout, his latest work takes on some adventurous new avenues which don't feel as well connected as they did in the past.
'Man Alive!' is certainly a fantastic and grand return from one of the UK's best artists, but sitting next to his previous full-lengths, it does feel a little off the boil. A strong and interesting return for King Krule, but will forever live in the shadows of his former self.