Music

King Krule: The OOZ

Photo courtesy of True Panther Sounds

Archy Marshall's second album as King Krule takes his unique musical style to new, darker extremes in an immersive, brilliant new album.


King Krule

The OOZ

Label: True Panther Sounds / XL
US Release Date: 2017-10-13
UK Release Date: 2017-10-13
Amazon
iTunes

Archy Marshall is one of those artists who defies categorization. Imagine if Roddy Frame was born in London instead Glasgow and grew up listening to grime and experimental electronic music alongside jazz guitar, and you'd get a sense of Marshall's outlook on music while still barely scratching the surface. Between his low, south London baritone and the occasionally meandering nature of his compositions, Marshall's work as King Krule is simply different from just about anything else out there right now.


King Krule's 2013 debut 6 Feet Under The Moon remains a striking listen, but nothing could have prepared us for the sprawling, fascinating brilliance of The OOZ. Once content to give brief glimpses into his warped psyche, Marshall now has the tools to bring listeners along for a long, ambling journey that they won't easily forget.

Right from the outset, The OOZ presents itself as a difficult listen. The opening salvos of “Biscuit Town" and “The Locomotive" are swampy, clouded and inscrutable. Marshall's voice, performed at its deepest register, is inscrutable. It plays into Marshall's admitted fascination with waste; he seems to take the guise of the lowest of the low, saying “I wish I was people" on “The Locomotive". Whether Marshall is describing a descent into madness or the corrosive nature of society is unknown, though. Marshall, never one for writing cohesive narratives, doesn't offer stories so much as brief glimpses and impressions of his world, acting less as a storyteller and more of a passerby on the street trying to connect the dots between unrelated incidents. Despite the fractured nature of its lyrics, The OOZ is quite enveloping; its heady mix of fractured jazz guitar and stuttering beats create a dark, unsettling world in which Marshall's gunky vignettes come alive.

What's perhaps most remarkable about The OOZ is its cohesiveness. Given Marshall's anything-goes approach to songwriting and the album's length, one could have forgiven The OOZ for being overlong and a little disjointed. However, it is none of these things, not by a long shot. Though Marshall gives his interpretation of everything from languid, lounge-lizard jazz to lo-fi punk, it all feels a part of this swampy whole.

Low-key, slightly experimental material like “The Cadet Leaps" doesn't feel out of place alongside the more propulsive material like singles “Dum Surfer" and “Half Man Half Shark." Though it may seem on the surface that Marshall is just chucking whatever he can at the wall and seeing what sticks, he's actually taking a more deliberate and considered approach, which makes The OOZ all the more impressive of an accomplishment.

For years, Marshall's work as King Krule focused on the scuzzy underworld of society, on the ugliness that lurks all around as we go about our business. As such, there's a chance that some listeners might be put off by his work. However, The OOZ is such a comprehensively impressive piece of work that it cannot and should not be ignored. This is, to date, the most complete expression of Marshall's musical ethos, and it's done in such an immersive fashion that it'd be foolish not to resist. Nothing released in 2017 so far has sounded anything like The OOZ, and it's doubtful that anything will be as great, either.

Related Articles Around the Web
8

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image