Album Review: King Krule delivers cinematic music with "The OOZ"
By now most of you jazz heads would have heard the latest LP from King Krule (if you haven’t, you’re reading it here first!). The OOZ, the third studio album from the English songwriter/rapper/beat-maker Archy Marshall, is a milestone title in his career that could possibly be a reference to his previous moniker, Zoo Kid.
Having previously produced an album with his brother Jack Marshall, King Krule is back with fresh piece of work that showcases his impressive range of skill, featuring tasteful jazz elements, soulful harmonies, very satisfying instrument arrangements, and of course, his brutally iconic brand of vocal style.
He has brought back everything from his debut album and expanded on it with a great deal of intention and focus. The 19-track long LP runs over an hour in length, exhibiting an interesting variation in tones and mood. Whenever I’m trying to categorise any individual song, it becomes apparent that his punk, jazz and electronic influences blend in a seamless conjuration.
Songs like 'Dum Surfer', 'Emergency Blimp' and 'Vidual' are immediate and busy in their delivery, polarised by tracks like 'Czech One' and 'La Lune'. In between them, you get a performance that is incredibly artful and cinematic in its flow.
There are also strong elements of beat production ingrained throughout the album’s structure. Interlude tracks and sampling carry a consistent ‘voice’ through the junctions between songs (for an expanded experience of something similar, check out his work under the name Edgar the Beatmaker).
Thematically this album moves through shifting aspects of personal life, experience and environment. It crosses over a range of emotional circumstances such as longing and yearning, and feelings of intimacy. He narrates accounts of intoxicating habitus and comments on his place in varying social settings. It’s often hard to take in each word literally as he is purposefully enigmatic and subtle in his approach to referencing; however each song contributes to a wholly realised vision of Archy’s world that he constructs for us.
What stands out is the way he has applied his voice over the course of this instalment. There are songs that use the classic King Krule vocal-driven melody, yet there are also a few tracks that have him in the background of an instrumental conversation. This evolution of singing is a credit to his progress as a musician, as there is a danger of riding too much on the success of previous works. For what is his most recognisable feature, he has managed to keep his voice fresh and rework it in new ways.
Archy has built up an epochal image on the level that he is as an artist, and this album is a huge step forward. Combining his collective works musically and artistically (often in conjunction with his brother), The OOZ absolutely delivers on the expectations that come with his growing legacy; and shows an exciting growth in talent. Marshall just oozes staunch, steaze and style.