Could we get a follow-up companion EP from King Krule called 'The Secret of the Ooz?'True Panther Sounds, 2017
8.0 / 10
Archy Marshall is a creative guy. In fact, he’s so creative that he has a million monikers to prove it. Okay, maybe not a million, but the guy has many. However, he’s probably most well known as King Krule. This is despite now just only having two King Krule full-lengths to his name (he released A New Place 2 Drown as Archy Marshall). Well, his latest The Ooz could be his most extensive and multi-faceted release yet. You could say The Ooz is creatively juicy.
Here, Archy Marshall seems to be relishing many of his musical influences and bringing his creative desires to the forefront. So, you don’t get a sense of Marshall as just a producer or electronic musician. Rather, he’s this force of multi-dimensional talents. He can be a smarmy rock frontman or the emo singer pining after a girl and also a wannabe hip-hop artist. He throws out everything in his arsenal on The Ooz. Much like the titular ooz, these are his musical secretions oozing out in an unapologetic, uncontrollable way. He’s having fun in the same fashion as Bradley Cox did when he gave away his bedroom recordings on his blog. Marshall is laying it all out there. Sure, some songs work better than others; meaning some of his stylistic choices work better. But The Ooz wouldn’t be “the ooz” without all of it.
You get all kinds of songs with The Ooz, and there are 19 of them. The album’s daunting length sometimes works against it, yet some do stand out among others. On “The Locomotive”, Marshall gets downright spooky here. It’s as if he’s a conductor leading us down a dark tunnel in his soul. “I’m alone, I’m alone/ In deep isolation/ In the dead of night, in the dead of night/ Waiting for the train,” he sings in almost a growl. He continues the eerie spookiness on “Dum Surfer”. Like the song’s video where Marshall plays in an undead band, he sounds like a ghoul playing in a crypt somewhere. A mix between psychedelic and jazz, the music is thick with smoke. A cancerous tar threatens to seep out of the speakers.
But these two songs come early, which means he blows his “ooz” too fast, right? Not necessarily when you get a song like “Half Man Half Shark” where the manic energy of this song is intoxicating. It makes it hard to write off the second half of the album. Rather, there’s plenty of good moments between both with songs some listeners will perceive as filler while others may believe to be gold. Marshall throws a lot into these lyrics; maybe information overload at times and even TMI in terms of the information he dishes out.
Obviously, many of these lyrics come from Marshall’s own reckless youth while others take inspiration from perhaps what could be. Say, for instance, that Marshall decided to go this path rather than this one. “A Slide In (New Drugs)” is particularly grim where he sings, “My skin is bleach, my hair is long/ I have no teeth, I’ve never done/ My gums are raw and bleeding all of time.” Musically, it sounds like a dream; thick with reverb until Marshall’s crystal clear vocals come into frame, not shying away from the ugliness. He seems to be injecting The Ooz with some shock factor. And maybe that’s what makes the album so interesting even in the moments where it meanders.