The hype around last year’s release of 6 Feet Beneath the Moon has ensured that Pumpehuset is packed with all sorts of vaguely fashionable types. Quite why Copenhagen’s twentysomethings are so interested in a 19-year-old from South London who sings about Tesco sandwiches past their sell-by dates, that is too large a question to get into. The point is that people are here, and there is a palpable atmosphere of anticipation as people cluster around the front or perch on ledges around the room.
The opening act, Kill J, despite having an obviously talented singer, manage to like more or less anything that was vaguely hip in the last few years: a bit of The Knife, a dash of M.I.A., sprinklings of whatever else you can think of. At one point she even starts to do an imitation of Die Antwoord’s Yolandi, complete with an incongruous South African accent.
A few teenage screams erupt as Archy Marshall joins his band on stage. It’s an interesting moment, a weird cognitive dissonance between this gawky, enthusiastic kid and an audience intent on deifying him. He bounces around during instrumental parts, but his distinctive style of singing anchors him down, as veins bulge around his neck.
Though his songs translate well enough in their live renditions, the sound is rather flattened out. Without some of the samples from the record, the set starts to sound rather samey and repetitive after half an hour. It is clear that to really get into King Krule, you need to subscribe to the myth. Otherwise you are essentially listening to an indie band playing lounge songs.
Though I’m less than evangelic about King Krule, it is undeniable that Archy has very interesting music tastes, and an ability to fit the most disparate influences into a unified sound. “A Lizard State”, despite its jazz references, could only come from the mind of someone who has grown up when the Libertines were at their peak. The attempts at street-smart realism and everyday references are still rather clumsy, and most tracks feel more like sketches than real songs, but the sketches are certainly promising.
Of course, most people are here for the penultimate song, “Easy Easy”. And it is the simplicity of the song, the sparse guitar and vocals, that give it punch, not to mention a passing resemblance to New Order’s “Ceremony”. Probably not the references to sandwiches, though.