Review: King Krule immerses listeners with ‘The Ooz’
English musician King Krule’s last two records, “6 Feet Beneath The Moon” and “A New Place 2 Drown,” drew in listeners with his growing competence in immersive, versatile production and his enigmatic vocals. “The Ooz,” released last Friday, continues Krule’s progression towards becoming a world-class musician — and may have pushed him to that status.
The artist’s unwillingness to be genre-fied has been one of his most appealing traits since his primitive projects under the moniker “Zoo Kid” back in 2010. The way Krule applies an eclectic assortment of styles to his intrinsic jazz discipline causes genre-fying to consequently marginalize an entire facet of his sound.
In “The Ooz,” Krule dances around numerous styles without sticking to any particular approach for an overbearing amount of time. He incorporates shades of blues, hip-hop, punk, indie and others to great execution. Krule lets samples of musical styles percolate through the cracks and flow out into other compositions to create a cohesive atmosphere throughout the album.
The production is ultimately what holds the album together, despite its abstract, seemingly disparate nature. More distorted than his previous works, King Krule creates a world full of emotion (save for happiness) that subtly puts the listener into a saddened trance surrounded by their own shortcomings.
Each sound and texture used is artfully chosen to mesmerize the listener to the greatest degree — further cementing Krule as a top-tier producer. The album is constantly fluctuating within the tormented headspace of the artist; the only consistent theme in the production of the album is its controlled nuance.
Perhaps most consistent throughout Krule’s career are his cryptic lyrics presented in a deep, sensitive fashion. Whether he’s piecing together abstract imagery in ode to his hometown in “Biscuit Town,” or vividly describing his imagined, drugged-out self in “A Slide In (New Drugs),” listeners must resort to building meaning through the sounds, rather than the words.
But maintaining ambiguity and forcing the audience to project their own meaning is fine work as long as the accompaniment is compelling enough to keep the audience on the right path. This is something that Krule accomplishes without struggle. His deep, versatile vocal stylings only contribute to the potent effects of his lyricism.
“The Ooz,” most commonly sees its creator lamenting his own life as a general outcast; provoking all the depression and pain that the 23-year-old holds within. Krule comes off as strikingly genuine on the album.
As hectic, trying and unpredictable as the album is, it’s really all about the journey. The playthrough is bumpy in artistic ways, and in absolutely no situation is this album an easy listen. Krule expects his listeners to be able to keep up, and he rewards them justly so after a little over an hour.
The only real knock that can be handed to this record — which really isn’t much of a knock — is its length. The average song length is around 4:20, which is a touch too long. But the length speaks on the volume of sounds King Krule has up his sleeve. There’s no dip in quality throughout the duration. By the time the final track rolls around, it’s hard to accept that the album is concluding.
King Krule’s “The Ooz” is a dark, beautifully crafted perusing of Archy Marshall’s musical identity — a wounded entity provoking itself for the sake of display. The album will most likely be among the year’s finest and proves that King Krule is near the head of the curve in sonic craft and creativity.
Watch the video for “Czech One” below:
Follow Jordan on Twitter @montero_jor.
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