Review: The live album Hypnotic mixes psychedelia and jazz
You warm me up, you cool me down
King Krule’s Fifth Studio Album “You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down” Is A Hypnotic, live album pieced together from shows the artist did before the pandemic. “You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down” expels a fierce, visceral emotion that is clearly on display for the listener to feel and experience with them. The album combines his punk–rock foundation with stimulant, psychedelic accents and occasional jazz elements.
The London artist opens the album with “Out Getting Ribs”, which introduces one of the album’s most significant themes: grief. Here, the beautifully crafted poetry of King Krule is unveiled with lyrics like, “Well I had no chance to escape / I can’t escape my own escape.” TThe listener is exposed to some of the artist’s innermost thoughts.
Much of the album consists of distorted guitars that are manipulated to embody loneliness, discouragement, rage, and a myriad of complex thoughts that King Krule describes through his enigmatic lyricism. The album deviates from its brutal, captivating, punk–rock style when a saxophone is introduced in the song “Rock Bottom”.
The resonance in the arpeggiated guitar chords of “The Ooz” is reminiscent of a macabre and much darker Peach Pit. King Krule shouts into the microphone over a soft saxophone riff. The saxophone evokes feelings of melancholy and romance, adding an intoxicating and brilliant level to the album which juxtaposes the dark color of its lyrics. Part of what makes “You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down” so dazzling are the moments when King Krule introduces unexpected new sounds., but end up completing the sound texture of the album.
Another dominant theme of the album is cynical existentialism. King Krule talks about his experience as a junior employee in the song “Easy Easy” while singing, “And while your dead end job / Has eaten away at your life / You feel little inside / The troubles and the conflicts.” “Easy Easy” and “Rock Bottom” both touch on powerful representations of the inherently complex human experience.
“Perfecto Miserable” is a powerful declaration of love. The artist sings: “You are my everything / You make me feel good / You are the only thing / It makes me feel good.” The track slowly climbs as a heavily distorted saxophone whines, and echoes and cymbals delicately crescendo and decrescendo. The verse ends with a buzzing whistle over several D eleventh chords that contain dissonance and tension between pitches. These disturbing sounds accompany the tragic lyrics and lamentable voices of King Krule.
While this album is extremely well done with a lot of intention and fervor, it is not revolutionary. King Krule’s words are exceptionally personal and interesting, but everything he sings has already been expressed musically: grief, despair, dark introspection. TThese feelings are not new, especially in the world of music and poetry.
This album contains so many layers and subtleties; just when the listener thinks he has an idea of where the album is going, King Krule introduces something new. While the album’s production value is great, the lyricism is wonderful. King Krule is a wonderful poet and “You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down” is a great addition to his discography.