King Krule The Ooz XL Recordings / True Panther Sounds

08 10

On the opening track of The Ooz, the continuity with King Krule’s 2013 album 6 Feet Beneath The Moon is immediately apparent. The hallmarks of that first LP are recurrent: delicate jazz keys, the beat’s dusty rattle and Archy Marshall’s favoured prosaic imagery (“I seem to sink lower/ I gaze into the rays of the solar/ I’m red and white but he sipped on KA soda/ fuck that’s coca cola”), while the wailing g-funk strings nod to his love of hip-hop.

Four years ago, it was tempting to focus on Marshall’s age, the world-weary feel of lyrics he’d written aged 14 and younger, the snarling baritone tumbling from his skinny frame. But it was the totality of his world that made him so compelling. And, having followed his first album with an LP of lo-fi hip-hop under his birth name, it’s exciting to hear him now return to the King Krule project that made him such a singular voice in the first place.

Slush Puppy reveals the new extent of his range, where a pleading falsetto gradually gives way and Marshall’s voice cracks, breaking to an agonising howl. His penchant for smoky jazz too is as present as ever, only this time indulging in more tangential freedom: Cadet Limbo is carried in ¾ with salsa claps, while Logos meanders in elevator territory, encouraging space for contemplation.

On Dum Surfer and Vidulahe, he delves into prowling punk reminiscent of The Cramps, while on the dual interludes of Bermondsey Bosom the self-reference is at its most explicit, name-checking two previous albums and revealing that “with projections of himself/ it was always about himself.”

We know that Marshall struggled with this record, suffering with writer’s block, depression, insomnia and a lack of clarity about the album’s direction. But there’s something captivating about the result. The Ooz is confessional, confrontational, soothing and abrasive; an invitation into the fluid creativity of one of the most compelling songwriters of his generation.

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