Man Alive!

King Krule - Man Alive!
Critic Score
Based on 25 reviews
2020 Ratings: #501 / 819
User Score
2020 Ratings: #67
Liked by 96 people
Sign In to rate and review


Beats Per Minute

With true, human conflict between happiness and sadness on full display, Man Alive! is unequivocally King Krule’s, or better yet, Archy Marshall’s most sobering work yet.

Loud and Quiet

You have to lean into Man Alive! to receive its message; it won’t come to you, but what lies in wait if you do is the dark, harsh truth. King Krule is one of the few artists ready to stare it in the eye.


The Krulean gloom is beginning to lift and, with this newfound paternal responsibility and a more optimistic worldview in place, Marshall’s creativity is shining for all the world to see.


If previous King Krule efforts could be accused of sad-boy narcissism, Man Alive! shows that Marshall's gaze has never been entirely directed at his own navel. Despair is still there in his songwriting, but so is the capacity for change.


‘Man Alive!’ is an absorbing consolidation of Marshall’s inimitable sound.

Under The Radar

It really is an excellent record and one that will speak to Marshall's fans and detractors alike.

Crack Magazine

A collection of doomed compositions that push that distinctive voice front and centre. This is soul music – that is, music for marching souls off to Hades.


Marshall duly stuffs his concise follow-up to The Ooz with the terror and negative liquid references, both literal and metaphorical, for which he is known.

The Observer

Like its predecessors, Man Alive! was recorded at night, and it swims languorously with romance and tenderness, deftly pulling sonics from jazz, post-punk, soul and dubstep. Through the dreamlike wails of sax and scuzz, optimism seeps through.

The Needle Drop

The more direct and tuneful approach King Krule takes on Man Alive! makes it—to my ears—a vast improvement over The Ooz.

The Young Folks

At just a brisk 41 minutes, Man Alive! has a distinct flow that goes from moments of sincere melancholy to Archy baring his heart outright.

No Ripcord

Where OOZ was a dizzying smorgasbord of styles, Man Alive! fleshes out Krule’s song crafting abilities to make for a slightly more cohesive and concise listening experience, albeit, one that remains perplexing—and still has a killer bite.

Spill Magazine

Man Alive! offers a refreshing breakaway from the encompassing narrative arc and monotonous, urban crawl of 2017’s Mercury Prize nominated, The Ooz.

Q Magazine

Marshall sounds at peace here, and back to his best.


Each previous album over-committed to their individual soundscape, but the coherence of and play between all of King Krule’s styles on Man Alive! would make a cubist proud.


The lanky London outlaw with cement-mixer lungs delivers his most anguished album yet, in which impending fatherhood collides with his habitual torments.


Following The OOZ and its accolades, King Krule crafts a similarly hazy gem with Man Alive! that digs into his distinct aesthetic rather than forges new ground.

The Line of Best Fit

Despite snatches of the more conventional songwriting style of old, the dirge doesn’t really leave the record at any point.

Northern Transmissions

It feels less of an album of fully formed material and more like a collection of unreleased B- sides, demos and rarities.

Spectrum Culture

Essentially, Man Alive! offers just as much of a musical smorgasbord as either of King Krule’s previous albums and, on the surface, one could regard it as more of the same if one were so inclined.


Ultimately, ‘Man Alive!’ feels like the work of an artist in transition: a handful of stunning tracks surrounded by some backfiring experiments.


For someone as forward-thinking and experimental, playful and funny as King Krule, Man Alive! is just too dull of a work to celebrate.


If Man Alive! treads a post-Ooz water, it's deep enough not to matter.


... lush as it sometimes is, too often disappears into an indecipherable cloud of smoke.

The Guardian

The south Londoner’s third album offers flashes of brilliance but is weighed down by a tone of gravelly gloom.

1,000 followers. I am shocked and incredibly grateful to sit here today, reaching my all-time milestone of a thousand followers. Ever since I started reviewing records on AOTY, this goal always seemed too far out of reach- something that was merely a dream. After roughly 272 days (around 9 months) of being a member of the AOTY community, I've finally hit this outstanding goal. I simply cannot thank all of you enough: to all of the people who have followed me, liked my reviews, interacted with ... read more
The idea of existentialism is a philosophical tradition that fully focuses on the human experience as an individual, showing how thinking isn’t the only way existence in ourselves takes hold - but acting, feeling, and living as a human individual. King Krule’s newest record “Man Alive!” takes on these ideas through a dark and twisted look at human society through the eyes of an everyman.

The album’s opener and third, final single “Cellular” isn’t ... read more
King Krule, Poet of Ashes.

A hoarse voice to wake the dead, a crazy saxophonist and some guitar chords that reverberate in the mist, a voice that lulled many of my insomniac nights. King Krule slowly chewed low, whispered lyrics, close to my ear, echoing like a tormenting spirit that came to haunt my soul and drive out my deepest demons. At the age of 25, the London-based artist releases his fourth album, which I've been waiting for impatiently since the excellent "The Ooz". ... read more
Emotionally despondent and morally conflicted, Man Alive! serves as a harrowing experience of unhealthy dependency. Yet, in its dejected tone, there is an underlying sense of clarity in Archy’s ability to pick apart his insecurities and potential downfalls.

Man Alive!...where did this record come from? A month ago I’d never finished a Krule record, now he’s one of my favourites ever? Alright then...

In actuality though, I think what I love most about this album can be ... read more
I haven't listened to too much of King Krule's music before this, so after hearing the singles I didn't know what to expect an awful lot, but what I instead got was one of the most atmospheric, haunting and beautifully crafted art rock albums of this entire year. I just completely sunk into the sound of this album as every track had a detail I loved, and the transitions between tracks were just incredible. It turns out, in the context of the album the singles did end up working so much more, ... read more
Purchasing Man Alive! from Amazon helps support Album of the Year. Or consider a donation?

Added on: January 13, 2020