English singer and songwriter Archy Marshall (better known as King Krule) attracted a sizeable fanbase following the release of his debut album 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, and after several other projects in which he decided to operate under multiple different monikers in order to confuse his fans for literally no reason, he finally came back to the King Krule name and gifted his disciples with The OOZ.
The OOZ brings back the very familiar melancholic soundscapes that listeners may recall from Marshall’s last full-length project, with some new garage and surfer rock influences sprinkled here and there in tracks such as “Half Man Half Shark” and “Dum Surfer,” – singles that strayed a bit from Marshall’s usual sound, but fit in nicely enough when heard through the album experience. The OOZ has a bit more to offer beyond new genres, however.
The three introductory tracks (“Biscuit Town,” “The Locomotive,” and “Dum Surfer”) welcome listeners with the casually dark and lonely sound to be expected from a King Krule album, but a new page gets turned upon hearing “Slush Puppy,” which listens like a desperate cry for help: “Me, nothing’s working / With me / I’m this worthless you see / Nothing’s working with me.” The track brings a new seriousness to Marshall’s music that fans may not have caught before, creating an alarming rupture in the standard King Krule framework. Throughout the remainder of the jazz fusion/modern R&B laiden tracklist, the only other song that displays this lucidity is the album’s title track, perhaps indicating a fleeting peek into the songwriter’s mental health, which has clearly not improved from his dreary previous projects.
The OOZ satisfies many of the hollow feelings and groovy, pessimistic instrumentals one could expect from a King Krule project, peaking at tracks such as the distressed “Slush Puppy,” the sultry and slow-burning “Logos,” and the hopelessly wandering “La Lune.” However, to judge an album purely based on its merits would be dishonest.
The greatest issue The OOZ faces is its own length. At 20 tracks long, there is no doubt that the album could have been much less long-winded than it ended up being. There are several tracks that could have been completely dropped, or at least combined with other songs to form at least some sort of sense of progression. That’s the thing about Marshall though – his music has a sense of traveling in no particular direction that often divides audiences. However, as a general rule, there is certainly much fat that could have been trimmed from i. Between the more purposeful tracks, there are these ones that are just sort of there that harm the album’s immersive experience.
While the act of listening to The OOZ from front to back may not be nearly as fluid as many other records this year, that doesn’t take away from the good things it has to offer. As a whole, The OOZ delivers what it set out to, with the drawback that it gave a little too much – which is, in any case, far better than the opposite.
Recommended If You Like: Beach Fossils, HOMESHAKE, Connan Mockasin
Recommended Tracks: 4 (Slush Puppy), 6 (Logos), 8 (Lonely Blue), 10 (Emergency Blimp)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Sam Blaufuss on 12/15/2017