King Krule EP
Eighty-nine percent of King Krule-related conversations that have occurred around The World, The Internet and Local Watering Holes in 2011 have been focused on his age. And the fact he's got red hair. Neither of these things should really come into play when discussing the music of the 17-year old London-born-n-bred bloodnut formerly known as Zoo Kid. I mean, have you not heard the Justin Bieber Christmas Album? Torrent some Simply Red albums when you get a spare minute bud. And here's three words for ya — Little Fucking Bow Wow. Put all that in your grumpy gent hash pipe and die of tongue/lung/tummy cancer. Mate.
But, in many ways, Kruley's age is incredibly important. He sings in a tone well beyond his years. Gruff and bitter. Nostalgically pissing his thoughts into a pint of warm lager and then throwing it in the faces of a bunch of ol' whiskey-nosed veterans playing Hail Britannia on bugles. For the 400th time today. Give it a rest boys. We're all tired and drunk and just not 'aving it.
Even though this EP is far too short — 13 minutes, and only five tracks, including an instrumental intro and a 70-second interlude — it's still successful in providing us with an accurate snapshot of a teenage opening his eyes, and perfectly articulating the shit he sees. Portrait In Black and Blue and The Noose of Jah City are frank dissections of a futureless and pointless existence. Raw, stark and honest. While, Bleak Blake flips the viewpoint, taking a more introspective analysis of heartbreak, painful moments retold with a sedated calmness, clenched fists and grinding teeth of perseverance.
Ordinarily, we have to wait until someone is at least in their thirties before they start to see the world for what it is — a great big wall of hopelessness with just occasional tiny cracks of pleasure seeping through. But King Krule is already at this point, examining Merry Old Britain in all it's rain-soaked glory and casually pointing his gen-Y fingers at the millions of glory holes scattered across the jizz-stained cubicles of everyday existence. And his music follows this same path, with the flickers of hope shining brightly amongst the unescapable vacuum of discomfort and despair. Yet, he rarely sounds depressed. Instead Krule consistently chooses the role of examiner over victim. Which works perfectly with the day-in-the-life method taken with his songwriting, sounding more like he's spilling some thoughts with you over a stout at the local pub, rather than lecturing to you about everyday teenage woes from a distant grey land.
Naturally, there are plenty of doubts associated with this EP. Will Krule's bleakness still sound so vibrantly down-trodden when stretched across a longer release? Will he be coaxed into a more polished sound, letting the lure of star-studded collaborations and studio spit-shine dilute his sound? Will he dye his hair a darker shade? Will the European financial crisis and Margaret Thatcher's iron-fisted problem-solving approach push him over the edge into a self-harm top-button-on-his-Fred-Perry strangulation situation? Only time will tell. But for now let's just enjoy listening to one of the most exciting singer-songwriters in some time develop right in front of our ears. And, to think, he's just a teenager. And a red-headed teenager at that.