Never before has self-hatred and pain sounded more appealing than on King Krule’s recently released album The OOZ. At 23, the London-based musician, Archy Marshall, also known as King Krule, is a rising star of the music industry. The 2013 LP 6 Feet Beneath the Moon was his first release to receive widespread critical acclaim. He then resisted the mainstream recognition of his alter ego to record an album in his London home, turned studio, under his real name. He turned down an invitation to collaborate with Kanye West because he “couldn’t be bothered.”
Four years later, the persona of King Krule reappears to drop the full-length album titled The OOZ. The new release expands on 6 Feet Beneath the Moon by delving deeper into the tortured mind of a young artist. In the second track, The Locomotive, King Krule expresses his loneliness: “Waiting for the train / in the dead of night I howl.” There’s no crypticism in King Krule’s depression. The track “Out Getting Ribs” on 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, is a notable example of the pain and passion King Krule wields with his masterful instrumentation of the guitar to harmonize with the heartache of his listeners. “Blue I need to rest/see I’ve been broken down,” he howls as the tempo turns up, leading to an explosive conclusion. The track is very similar to The OOZ’s title track. King Krule reiterates the experience of his darkness with melancholic guitar melodies under crooning sad lyrics with a deep, tortured voice.
The OOZ is essentially an album about unrequited love. However, King Krule’s heartache isn’t at the forefront. Rather, he provides the basis for hazy melancholic tracks. The two-part spoken word track, “Bermondsey Bosom,” in which King Krule refers to his old lover as a parasite, yet also a paradise, is the most we get regarding her description. On “Czech One,” he can’t even bring himself to mention her name, singing, “You ask me what her name is called / But I found it hard to write.” On “Logos,” King Krule descends further, talking about the final split, “Why I sing about her / I’ll never know” in a bruised weariness.
When the record’s melancholic haze clears, King Krule’s anger flashes hotly. The lyrical and melodic content born of that anger feeds the best tracks on the album. On the track “Dum Surfer,” a personal favorite of mine, King Krule combines elements of punk and jazz that result in a high-tempo driven, passionate feeling. On the equally heavy and jazzy track, “Half Man Half Shark,” King Krule uses his energetic burst to talk about grievances while in search for help.
The OOZ is not for everyone. It can be a hard listen at times due to King Krule’s uncanny ability to communicate pain and anger through his moving voice, which is an acquired taste. Despite that, The OOZ is an essential listen. The record is disorienting, sad, and beautiful. The OOZ seems destined to be the melancholic soundtrack of countless lonely nights for years to come. Whether the album will provide comfort and solace along the way is not clear. King Krule provides no easy answer, but that’s the point. It doesn’t sound like he knows what he’s looking for either. King Krule does provide brilliance in his search though, and The OOZ is proof of that.