Sunday, January 08, 2023

Archie Marshall and co dig out a hopeful lesson of hopelessness

The likes of three comrades, Archie Marshall (King Krule), Jack D’Cruz, and Voldy Moyo, have released an archived project in the wake of 2023.

The release is titled ‘Aqrxvst Is The Band's Name (Full Album)’. Not only does the band name, Aqrxvst, illustrate the playful nature of three friends recording together (in the ‘desert of Limehouse’), but so too does Archie’s attached album artwork: a sketch of a lady completed in the gents! 

Typically speaking a ‘Full Album’ plays longer than 10 minutes, which adds to this playfulness. The ‘Full Album’ can therefore be interpreted as a completed body of work and might indicate to their audience not to hold their breath for another release. Similarly, this EP vs full album business is the first sign of the paradoxical pieces which are to follow; more on this later.

Track one, ‘The Sky Was In The Frame’ opens with rocketing guitar chords, creating a dizzied and distorted feeling of seasickness. Archie’s voice echoes the lead’s to complete this raw and disjointed track.

Following borrowed King Krule track transitions, ‘29’, comes in with a piercing yet melodic tone. There is a feeling of unsettledness as these internal monologues combine with scratchy guitar notes. Not sure exactly what the title track number represents, however it is the age that Archie (and possibly his two counterparts) turn this year. You can hear the equal collaboration of this piece, combining and expanding beyond the likes of Archie’s traditional sound, with the other two’s writing creativity coming in. The vocals remind me of Terry Venomous.

Track three: ‘Hope’ begins slower, warmer, and more embracing than its predecessors. However, the first lyrics, “Even though nothing is true, I don’t know what I’d do, if I could see you leaving”, gives off the impression of a state of dependency.

The warm shiny glimmers of guitar and cosmic synth induce this sort of time-warp where there is an acceptance in the face of the unknown, of that which can and cannot be controlled, like time itself: “This train was on the way, I could see it moving”.

Throughout the composition, the lyrics “Even though nothing is true, I can’t lie to you” are repeated. Perhaps a comment on how the deficits of the human psych hold onto things and run itself into the ground by recalculating the very same imaginary scenario on repeat. The closing lyrics repeat the first, entailing the full circle has been completed.

The combined effect of the melody and the vocals creates this paradoxical feeling of hope in the context of hopelessness; a sense of clarity in unfamiliarity as we venture into the unknown. Possibly 2023?

A lost star in search of its inevitable objects of orbit.




Matthew Hulse

Image: ‘Aqrxvst Is The Band's Name (Full Album)’ Cover


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