Review: King Krule croons through melancholia with ‘The OOZ’

Story by Hayden Goodridge / Contributing Writer

King Krule’s appearance may surprise you. While his music gives the impression of a gruff, commanding presence at the microphone, Archy Marshall, the 23-year-old South London singer-songwriter behind the music, gives the unassuming impression of a scrawny, pallid juvenile with a crimson nest of hair atop his head. Having written music from the age of 15, Marshall’s image has been defined by adolescent angst, which was a prevailing theme on his debut album, “6 Feet Beneath the Moon.” Four years later, King Krule has presented his first project as an established adult, “The OOZ.”

Written over the course of these transitionary years into adulthood, “The OOZ” is a massive project. With 19 tracks and a runtime of over an hour, Krule provides a great deal of material for listeners to meander through. The album itself is jagged, packed with surreal sketches of Marshall’s imagination. His observances tend to venture into the bleak, dimly lit aspects of the psyche so that, while surrounded by an array of instruments, he gives the impression of being completely isolated within his music. This desolate place that we are allowed to peer into has us finding Krule in various states of emotional decrepitude.

These emotions are often expressed through the music as melancholy resignation coupled by fits of unhinged fury. The album’s first track, “Biscuit Town,” begins with a watery synth melody in which Krule’s accented voice ambles over in verses of low-register narration. He utters out the line “I think she thinks I’m bipolar,” an observation that seems to be evidenced as the album ventures into the next song, “The Locomotive.” Blanketed by the track’s eerie, disorienting atmosphere, Krule switches from detached rambles to bitter yelps like, “Plagued by our brains, the internal sinking pain.”

Poetic expression is never lacking on “The OOZ,” with Krule’s verses acting more as pieces of spoken word than melodic singing. He croons in the title track, “In soft bleeding, we will unite / We ooz two souls pastel blues / Heightened touch from losing sight.” Through beautifully spoken lines like these, Krule’s voice presents itself as the album’s greatest aspect. His free, unrestrained baritone exemplifies the lethargic sadness of which he tells us and adds to the extensive personal strife of his character.

In his brooding over these ambient tracks, Krule gives us perspective into the grim realities of lower-class London existence. It’s bleak and cold, but in a way, there’s a romanticism behind it too. In the shapeless and reflective forms that his music takes, King Krule’s sentiment flows through those lonesome, blue nights of solitude and bundles itself up there, waiting for listeners to grab onto it in those times when it is needed the most.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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