By JT Schultz
King Krule’s reemergence into the music scene was experienced by fans on November 19th, 2019 with his new short film Hey World! directed by Charlotte Patmore. The film is an extension to Archy Ivan Marshall’s pre-existing collection of dark and ominous work as King Krule, including The OOZ and 6 Feet Beneath the Moon.
Opening with grainy shots of telephone poles in a ghostly blue hue accompanied by the mysterious ring of a telephone, the visuals align themselves with Marshall’s aesthetic within seconds. What follows is a cameo shot of the distraught and elusive artist before cutting to the first of four singles: “Perfecto Miserable.”
While still remaining within the realm of Marshall’s haunting music, “Perfecto Miserable” separates itself from his previous work. Straying from his Fender, Marshall sits cross legged with an acoustic guitar at the forefront of the low saturated frame. In the background, a low lit rural landscape shrouded by fog.
“Perfecto Miserable” is a love letter to Charlotte Patmore, the mother of Marshall’s newborn child. Patmore’s partnership with Marshall includes photography of his 2018 North American tour and the direction of the “Cadet Limbo” music video. Patmore seems to be an element of Marshall’s life that was lacking within his desperate lyrics on The OOZ. “You’re my everything, you make me feel alright,” is sung lazily in Marshall’s naturally brooding tone.
“Alone Omen 3,” the second song within the film, distances itself from the folk acoustic sounds of “Perfecto Miserable” with the introduction of a lo-fi keyboard. While Marshall finds his way back to the electric guitar, the song remains naturalistic and quite simple. The recording is fuzzy, matching the blurred and unsteady camera work that’s reminiscent of an old home video. Marshall stands in the center of the frame beneath the grim silhouettes of smokestacks. The song ends with Marshall belting the words, “don’t forget you’re not alone” in impassioned anger.
The topics of depression and loneliness are a commonality within Marshall’s angst filled discography. “(Don’t let the Dragon) Draag On” is a continuation of his commentary on his experience with these issues. While these themes have become popularized in modern music, Marshall confronts them with honesty, a result of his foreboding lyrics. “Draag On” is the darkest of the four singles within the film, and is presented by Marshall in a neo-noir black and white. A black and white filter has been a tool used by Marshall before, such as in his music video for “A Lizard State.”
The final scene of the short is of Marshall standing in front of a green screen, the background a warm sunset over the ocean. The song “Energy Fleets” has a comparable style to the songs “Baby Blue” or “Out Getting Ribs” from the album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon. Consistent with the other singles, this song is solely Marshall and his guitar. Without background instrumentals, Marshall’s performance of this song is intimate and simple. The song concludes with the frame minimizing into darkness before the final chords fade away.
Hey World! displays a break from the post-punk grunginess of other King Krule songs like “Dum Surfer” or “Half Man Half Shark” and introduces the viewer to a softer side of King Krule. While still in accordance with his roots, Marshall’s new work is a look into the style of his upcoming album. Following the release of Hey World!, Marshall released tour dates for his 2020 tour across Europe and North America.
You can watch the short film Hey World! below.