DJ JD Sports, Zoo Kid, Edgar The Breathtaker? After a four year long wait, Archy Marshall is back as King Krule for an album that is as creative as his many alias’. The 23 year old’s sound could be characterised by many genres; jazz, hip hop, trip hop, indie, post punk and darkwave, but none of them would quite get it right. His songs are diverse, intelligent and beautiful, and he has voice like no other.
His latest album ‘The OOZ’ is a continuation of this; 19 tracks of cavernous bass, intimate keyboards and stories with a depth and maturity far beyond Marshall’s years.
‘Biscuit Town’ is the album’s opener. It starts with a searching piano melody, sad but serene, before the drums come in like a narcissist, rearranging everything around themselves. Next up, there’s the looming ‘The Locomotive’ with its thumping bass guitar over a stripped back beat that almost trips over itself. As the last bars fade out, the first bars of album highlight ‘Dum Surfer’ fade in.
Like two inexperienced lovers learning the tune of each others bodies, this post punk tale of a drunken night in a European city gets better every time you listen to it. Somehow, the backing vocalist has a voice even lower than Krule’s own deep baritone as he grunts the first line of each stanza. Midway through, an offbeat, treble ridden guitar jumps in teasing with the idea that this could be a tune to dance to. Marshall makes sure not to dwell in the upbeat for too long as he proceeds to get lost in his own thoughts on ‘Slush Puppy’, repeating words over and over to the ambient synths that slip in and out of the song, like a morning dozer balancing either side of consciousness. The only thing holding this tune together is the constant, repetitive beat and endless guitar arpeggios.
Other highlights of the album include ‘Lonely Blue’ with its tragically beautiful lyrics:
I'd save him but he's dead
She still hugs the cold night air
Still will search
The burdening city awaits
But he’s gone
As you listen to his words and their sparse backing track, you can feel a lonely, rainy night in the city seeping through your headphones. Marshall’s ability to create this intense loneliness is one of his many great talents and he does so again on ‘Czech One’. Woozy synths cradle you in his sensory deprivation tank as if being submerged in warm water. The instrumentation is purposefully lazy, the improvised melodies cross over each other endlessly and all this wanders aimlessly around Krule’s sonic canvas.
In terms of genre, feel, and instrumentation this is an eclectic album, but beneath all that there is consistency. On every song Marshall manages to convey rich emotion. Each song sounds like a private show, and the improvised nature of the instrumentation means each listen sounds like a different performance. This is an album best enjoyed alone, be prepared for some intense introspection.
Photo by Alexandra Waespi