Friday, December 1, 2023
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King Krule – Space Heavy Review

Space probably is heavy. Thanks, King Krule. Fifteen tracks to tell us this? Well worth it. Space Heavy, the fourth record from Archy Ivan Marshall, is a heavy record which does reflect on space. Not the great unknown but the space between, the distance and air which hooks a listener’s attention. Space Heavy has an earnestness and calmness to it in opening track Flimsier which brings about this disconnect, tries desperately to pool it together, and succeeds in failing to do so. Instead, King Krule find confidence in their outstanding guitar riffs and the vibrancy which springs from them. Cruise through the crunch of Pink Shell and into the shifting tides of Seaforth. It all comes together nicely for Krule and company, Space Heavy is no stranger to the darker thoughts and the struggle to break from those unique dreams of longing. 

Falling from faith, the reflection in their eyes showing off their innermost desire and fears, Space Heavy provides a real and natural blend of late-night anxieties and regrets. What a fun record. Space Heavy is a tremendous thrill in places but plants them as brief breaks from the horrors which reflect the self, the highly strung and well-rounded earnestness of That Is My Life, That Is Yours works when balanced by the talented, psychedelic transitions of Flimsy. Those heavier thumps on That Is My Life, That Is Yours, paired with the resurgence of popular saxophone instrumentals to soften the blow, is a wonderful flourish of creativity. One of many King Krule happens upon, adapts and moulds throughout this brash and self-effacing record. Moderation of the soul and keeping horrid thoughts at bay, that is the point of this piece. 

Tortoise of Independence finds this well enough; the lasting love begins to split and wane. Gorgeous guitar work on From The Swamp sticks in the mind, the gentle flow a real and honest experience to hold onto. Those bedroom pop flows coupled with some bitter lyrics, the permanence of some lustful anger, permeating through the latter half of the album and sitting nicely. Not quite obsessed with the ocean but still featuring a fair few tracks concerning it, Space Heavy is not about life beyond the stars at all but the space left by lost loves and harsh realities. Well, a bit of space does come through on Our Vacuum and the iconography associated with the cover. But space is just metaphor and metaphors are to mask honest feelings. 

Tremendous not just in its form but consistency too, the passion underlying all of this is a bold and terrifying one. Pangs of rage and the eventual running out of steam feature in sync with one another, Our Vacuum shows the rise, bait and recognition of fights worth abandoning. Space is pretty heavy after all, and so is the context and misery flashing through this stunning collection of songs. What a record. King Krule abandons the usual flickers of positivity which can provide the chance for reconciliation between mind and heart, instead drawing up the stark and harsh realities which come through in the dark, left alone to thoughts of abandonment and escapism.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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