The Ooz by King Krule
Review by Anthony Sennett
Archie Ivan Marshall, fka Zoo Kid, has used the name King Krule since 2011. This man is a London based musician with a striking voice and overall sound. It’s shocking to know this already seasoned artist is only twenty three years old. He splashed onto the American scene with his 2013 debut record ‘6 Feet Beneath the Moon.’ It was a fantastic project, spawning memorable and well known tracks such as ‘Easy Easy.’ Ditching the stage names, Archy Marshall released ‘A New Place 2 Drown.’ It was a new direction for him, showcasing his versatility. In August of 2017, King Krule finally returned. Two months later, ‘The OOZ’ was born.
‘The OOZ’ is a captivatingly dark and melancholy record. His voice blends effortlessly with the atmosphere he created. The first sounds you hear on the album appear to be a train running on the track. 'Biscuit Town,' track one, is the nickname of a town named 'Bermondsey.' He sings of sinking lower, and being almost trapped. The instrumental has a steady, nearly hypnotic edge to it. The next song is titled 'The Locomotive,' and the storyline continues as he realizes he needs to and try to get out of said town. The dark lyrics match the dramatic production. Track three, 'Dom Surfer,' was released as a single leading up to the album. It has an amazing groove and is a very memorable moment. As noted by many, it carries a similar feel to the 'Monster Mash.' The second verse speaks of a crash occurring, which could be a continuation of his transporting out of the town. The song ends with the realization 'some things won't change for a while.' The fourth track is definitely one of my favorites. Named 'Slush Puppy,' it is a discordant and melancholy song filled with dark thoughts echoing throughout the song's atmosphere. The line 'nothing’s working with me' is repeated many times, and he mentions he is 'down under sea.' It seems he is right back where he was at the beginning of the record.
'Bermondsey Bosom (Left)' is entirely spoken by a woman in Spanish. The words translate into lines describing the 'city of parasites' Archy is stuck in, thinking about 'her.' It transitions smoothly into 'Logos,' which dives deeper into a traumatic description of emotions and memories he has in this town. The song has an oddly beautiful sound, yet is narrated by Krule singing of his drunken mother and the emptiness of the place in which he resides. As with much of the album, the track ‘Sublunary’ carries a spacey, almost Blade Runner-esque sound. Sublunary means to be beneath the moon, and this directly correlates to Archy’s debut record. This track encapsulates loneliness, and is a mental low point in the record. Carrying on with the theme, the next track is titled ‘Lonely Blue.’ This is another great moment, with a fantastically gloomy groove carried by a laid back guitar. It’s a track telling a dark tale of loss packed with dense yet beautiful lyrics. ‘Cadet Limbo’ once again finds Archy thinking of the past and all he has lost. This song continues the gorgeous use of saxophone on the record. The next track is a necessary and great change of pace. ‘Emergency Blimp’ tells of King Krule’s insomnia, helplessness, and drowsiness in contrast with the sharper-than-usual, more lively instrumentals.
Finally, track eleven comes along. Personally, ‘Czech One’ is my favorite song on the record. It is utterly gorgeous. This was the first song I heard from the album, watching the video the day it came out. The visuals for this song add so much to the impact of the music. My favorite line from this lyrically driven track is ‘where tiny men have been absorbed, for questioning the sky, to when and where the stars we formed, that glance upon this night...’ Czech One has an undeniably dream-like quality to it, as he sings of ‘her’ still watching him. I truly admire every aspect of this song, and it was a fantastic return after four years of silence. ‘A Slide In (New Drugs)’ continues the spacey atmosphere, dealing with Archy’s position as a social outcast, wondering why a girl would be spending her time on him. The most upbeat moment in awhile comes with ‘Vidual.’ With similar feel to ‘Dom Surfer,’ Archy frantically sings of burning the city and a girl he desires. ‘Bermondsey Bosom (Right)’ is the English translation of the earlier (left) track with the same name.
‘Half Man Half Shark’ is a bombastic and brilliant track. Krule’s ‘simple thoughts’ turned ‘menacing.’ The contrast of the outro and the rest of the song makes both even more impactful. It ends on a somber note, seeming to mentally cement his state of eternal loneliness. ‘The Cadet Leaps’ ties into the earlier track ‘The Cadet Limbo.’ It signifies a change in the record and escaping the monotony and sedentariness of the town. The outro of this song is a Filipino translation of the ‘Bermondsey Bosom’ lyrics. ‘The Ooz’ is the title track of the album. It definitely is a thematic centerpiece, capturing the omnipresent hopelessness and uncertainty displayed through the entire record. He sings of the locomotive arriving. This should bring a sense of resolution, yet the song slowly grows more desperate. His love for a girl is one sided, which he poetically signifies through the reprise of the line ‘it’s cold by the fire.’ ‘Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver)’ explores a depressive episode, as he sinks into the rain in ‘those blue hours.’ The track ends with a vividly mundane playing of the ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ theme song amidst a rainy day. ‘La Lune’ completes the record. It is the lightest feeling song, consisting of a soft guitar and smooth vocal performance. King Krule tells of how he was raised to the moon to be elevated with ‘her.’ It leaves the listener with a feeling of tranquility never previously evoked on the record.
Overall, King Krule’s ‘The OOZ’ is a raw and meandering journey. While individual lyrics are opaque and very hard to decipher, the overall feeling and ideas are translated and understood perfectly. The record works so well as a whole, and each song’s strengths are more eminent in context. At the moment, I feel the best tracks are Slush Puppy, Logos, The Ooz, and Czech One. I did not expect Archy to take such a turn with his art, but I definitely embrace it. Please give this record a listen. It is definitely not for everyone, but it is sure to leave an impression.