Rising teen sings on ‘Conan’

By Carl Nadig

King Krule is a musical talent who can’t even purchase a beer in the United States, but his music is intoxicating — especially during live performances in the early nights of the week.

Archy Marshall, known as King Krule, is a 19-year-old British singer/songwriter who performed Monday night on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” Marshall’s red hair and youthful age gives him the appearance of an adolescent Rick Astley holding a Telecaster.

The musician’s song of choice on Conan was “A Lizard State,” a restless and zestful song that initially slithered from a quirky, walking bassline into a barmy crescendo. The song acted as a joint collaboration with Conan’s house band, Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band.

Under this brief musical unification, the mixture of a blaring horned ensemble created an uncanny cacophony of darkwave rhythms, Charleston-style drum beats and convoluted jazz chords that sounded impressive coming from a young artist.

One of the most gratifying aspects of King Krule’s live performance was the tension between the bright-sounding house band compared to Marshall’s baritone voice. Not only did the horned ensemble provide “A Lizard State” with a warm and foreign quality to the performance, but Marshall’s own clean, coherent guitar added a florid aesthetic to Marshall’s post-punk vocals. King Krule sometimes snuffed out in a nasal gruff and left the lyrics sounding inarticulate and aloof compared to the rest of the powerful performance.

Marshall’s stage demeanor and mannerisms were controlled for a performer his age; however, being televised on national television could make anyone be on their best behavior. The mood of Conan’s stage, a coolly illuminated corridor in the TBS studio, reflected a dainty jazz restaurant of the Roaring Twenties and added a suave disposition for American viewers of the British visitor from across the pond.

With his debut album released Aug. 24, “6 Feet Beneath the Moon” could unofficially become the cocoon stage for the metamorphosis of King Krule. With the album’s cover artwork resembling a fragmented piece painted by Picasso in his Cubism stage, “6 Feet Beneath the Moon” could prophesize how much this 19-year-old artist could change in the following decade.

I would like to see King Krule make progressive changes in his music and burgeon into an unrecognizable musician so future fans, followers and music enthusiasts see a trail of crumbs leading back to this album.