‘Never slumping in energy’: A Review of King Krule’s You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down

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King Krule's anticipated return sees him deliver new versions of many of his greatest tracks with intense energy and wonderfully varied instrumentals.

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King Krule has been quiet for a little while. After starting 2020 off with a great new album, Man Alive!, and releasing an accompanying short film titled Hey World! which featured bleakly beautiful visuals and more gentle, acoustic versions of some of Man Alive!’s songs, the pandemic meant that his tours were soon cancelled. Since then, Archy Marshall (Krule’s frontman) has become a father and undoubtedly been changed as a person.

Thankfully, live recordings were made of the few concert performances that Krule was able to fit in, and after some tinkering we have this live record which features performances of songs from across Archy’s entire musical career. Renewing many of these tracks (as Archy seems to every single time he plays – he’s excellent live!) by adding instruments, changing their style or even adding spoken word endings (‘Baby Blue’s new spoken word ending featured on this album is utterly breathtaking), You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down is a must listen for any fan of Krule’s music, especially the two most recent records The Ooz and the aforementioned Man Alive!.

With excellent moments peppered throughout, it’s difficult to narrow the record down to a small selection of highlights. The quieter, reverb-reliant version of ‘A Slide In (New Drugs)’ is wildly different to the original,‘Easy Easy’ is finally blessed with George Best’s phenomenal percussive talent after years of fans asking and The Ooz’s title track is made even more emotional by being allowed to breathe for a full seven minutes and leaning more into Krule’s jazz background rather than relying on the song’s central riff so much. Almost every song here is given new life, revitalised by high energy and many even find improvements over their studio versions like ‘Perfecto Miserable’, which has never sounded better.

Archy’s vocals throughout are typically extreme, going from his gentle spoken word to his desperate-sounding screams without warning and delivering his unique, poetic lyrics beautifully in the same way as usual – Marshall’s voice is odd in that on almost any pop track it would be terrible, but in the musical world he has crafted it’s impossible to imagine any more suitable voice.

With such a great track-list, intensely passionate performances and frankly genius edits to already stunning tracks, You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down is a fantastic listen front to back, never slumping in energy (as Marshall jokes about when he says he’ll slow down before launching into a crazed performance of ‘Stoned Again’, one of his most energetic songs). It once again proves that 2021 is a great year to be a fan of contemporary British rock between this, Black Country, New Road’s brilliant debut album For The First Time and Horsey’s Debonair. Krule’s work continues to become less gloomy, dropping his self destructive persona and making way for a lighter, more optimistic feel (evidenced by the performance of his early pop-rock single inspired by The Streets, ‘Rock Bottom’).

You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down is distributed by XL Recordings and is now on streaming services, CD and double-vinyl (the last of which features an A5 zine of images and drawings, too). Watch the album’s accompanying film on YouTube below:

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Second year film student - film, music and poetry fan!

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