The dreamy, almost shattered perspective that King Krule paints in his now third studio record, The OOZ takes on an almost timeless sound that morphs the line between dystopia and real-life. The record is beautifully produced, featuring some of Archy Marshall’s finest work to date; while nearly hopeless at moments, The OOZ is a relatable rainy day that pours over the listener in a gentle shower.
The OOZ is a long, and daunting release of nineteen-tracks that spans a total of just little over an hour. The title is fitting as Marshall’s journey is one that is full of crawling and sticky production that really makes his proper English vocals, as well as the mix of saxophones, strings, and experimental percussion create an eventful hour of unforgettable tunes. The jump into the lake with “Biscuit Town” is much deeper than first anticipated with isolated lyrics that Marshall describes, “You’re shallow waters, I’m the deep sea-bed and I’m the reason you flow”. There is a level of class behind King Krule’s style that reverts back to the mud-stricken streets of England, an instant image of dirty streets and back-alley creeps flood the mind of the listener as Krule’s band plays primarily laidback, but still heavy mixes of jazz and glam rock through The OOZ. It is a strange mix-up of production, but The OOZ can be just as horrifying as it is beautiful.
In the following track, “The Locomotive”; Krule is still distant with his lyrical style, but the raw emotion that shines in the lights of his eyes is grasping and glorifying. The production is made of slow, but melodic creeps of sporadic sounds that flood the spacious area, painting mass images of dead forests and empty train stations. This is where Krule is most familiar however, as he describes, “I’m alone, I’m alone, in deep isolation. In the dead of night, in the dead of night. Waiting for the train, in the dead of night, I howl. We all have our evils; we’re told just to keep calm”. Krule has a storytelling element and seguing power behind his music that makes The OOZ feel as magnificent as possible, but still keeps that underbelly of rust that complements well with most of the tracks present on The OOZ.
“Dum Surfer” was one of the singles released off the album that accompanied with a video and was something that had been a shock to the system with how gritty, but catchy the track was. It is incredibly foreboding to The OOZ and creates a real sense of dance style behind the usual creeping style of Krule. It is much faster and features some of the larger uses of upbeat styling, but “Dum Surfer” has these moments that are just fantastic as the track reaches one of the final climaxes and uses a bright saxophone solo to transition in almost a dualistic statement with the rest of The OOZ. King Krule has always managed to challenge the sound and boundaries with each of his releases, but with The OOZ, Krule is approachable but still has that level of steel behind his tracks that cut deeper than before.
On around the midpoint of the album, “Cadet Limbo” comes stumbling in and takes a focus on the atmospheric sound of Marshall’s voice and his saxophones behind him. The saxophone on The OOZ played by Ignacio Czornogas is simply stunning, he captures the noise of the record and the emotion perfectly. And that goes for the other musicians as well, when Archy Marshall is not playing the vocals, guitar, bass, percussions, or the keyboards; Dilip Harris provides the marimba and vibraphone percussion, James Wilson on bass, George Bass on drums, Marc Pell on bongos, Jack Towell on guitar, and Andy Ramsay on technical percussion are all fantastic here. The productive aspect of The OOZ is some of the dirtiest and most intriguing to come out of Krule’s discography. It is also apparent on “Emergency Blimp” which follows and is a sudden jump into another upbeat ride with Krule where the band completely takes over in a sense of rising action. For the amount of real grit behind The OOZ, there is a surprising amount of entertainment and fun factor attached to the record that makes for grooving behind the hellish world that Krule paints.
In the final moments, The OOZ is a rain-painted, shattered glass memoir of King Krule’s final moments with the masterful composition. He is simply powerful, but continues to keep a style and sense of beauty behind his music. It is dualistic and survives well when paired with how Krule can transition from the grief-stricken moments of The OOZ where all hope is lost, to the magnificence where the production and instruments shine in a final blaze of glory that creeps back slowly into the same light from which it came.