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Tridone’s Top Tracks: King Krule’s “The OOZ” is one of the best albums of 2017

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Tridone’s Top Tracks: King Krule’s “The OOZ” is one of the best albums of 2017

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Archy Marshall released his sophomore album “The OOZ” under one of his many stage names, King Krule, on Oct. 13. Pulling influence from jazz, punk, post punk, hip hop, trip hop, and indie rock, Marshall has an incredible arsenal of musical knowledge at his disposal.

Possessing a mind that is shrouded in mystery behind his stone-cold appearance, Marshall reflects his inner characteristics in “The OOZ.” Not only do his lyrics almost always carry more than one meaning, but the nature of the album can change depending on how the listener interprets the sound; the beauty of the record is in the eye of the beholder.

Although extremely eclectic instrumentally, Marshall wears his heart on his sleeve for most of this record. This juxtaposition of his emotionally vulnerable lyrics against the backdrop of haywire horns and jittery synthesizers creates a vivid mental image that only King Krule could accomplish. His gritty baritone voice adds another layer into the mix, resulting in a strong vocal delivery. The album is beautiful in nature with the tendency to show an ugly side emotionally.

On this record, Marshall creates sonic motifs as swiftly as he destroys them. Over the span of several songs, he introduces instruments and moods which play into the rest of the album. On “Cadet Limbo” a jazzy piano can be found dancing along the back end of the track. However, Marshall has several musical themes rotating between center stage and the sideline as the album progresses. The strong drums on “Biscuit Town” are hardly found several tracks later on “Slush Puppy,” but are very present on a back end cut like “Half Man Half Shark.”

Using this mechanism, King Krule exchanges predictability for unexpected turns and twists, making for a dynamic record. He keeps the listener on their toes. In “Logos,” when a massive forte would have been traditional in such a lethargic and low-key song, Marshall opts instead for a saxophone outro, which works extremely well. Odd, unidentifiable noises are also thrown in at random intervals to keep the tracks dynamic.

His incredible span of musical influence can be found peppered throughout the hour long LP. An outspoken fan of Elvis Presley, Marshall makes this appreciation extremely apparent on the track “Lonely Blue.” Hip-Hop influence isn’t as strong as other genres featured in this album, but is utilized very well in the opening track “Biscuit Town.” Post-Punk is also prevalent in Marshall’s influence.

The album is incredibly original. His unusual baritone voice goes from screaming lyrics like, “As my brain’s diluting, I suffer from whiplash” on “Dum Surfer,” to other more personal lines such as “You used to complete me, but I guess I learned a lesson” on the emotional cut “Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver).” His vocal delivery is undoubtedly haunting on the entire album and shrouded in reverb to add flair.

This vocal delivery bolsters the fantastic lyricism of “The OOZ” to a whole new level. The lyrics are shockingly candid, yet vague. Emotionally, Marshall lets the listener in. He describes situations and ideas to the point where they are relatable and understandable for the listener, but avoids details that make them too specific to himself. For example, on “Biscuit Town” where he sings, “He left the crime scene without the Motorola, still had dreams of being a young Franco Zola.” Lyrically, Marshall hits the mark on this album, finding the perfect balance between minimalism and maximalism for the mood he creates.

At 19 tracks, the album suffers from how long it goes. Some tracks like “Vidual” and “A Slide In (New Drugs)” seem out of place, not fitting in with the woozy sonic pallette of the rest of the songs. In terms of the production, the shifts in instruments and tones which make the first 11 songs captivating are hardly present on the last eight tracks. The only exception of this is the high-energy cut “Half Man Half Shark,” which sounds like a frantic call for help. However, this track’s tone is very out of place from the tracks like “Czech One” surrounding it, which tend to be calmer.

Overall, “The OOZ” is an artistic masterpiece and solidifies Marshall as one of the most essential indie artists of the modern age. His artistic vision and experimentation never overpower the direction he goes with any single song on the album. The wonderful blend of post-punk, hip-hop, indie rock, jazz, and trip-hop leaves the listener wanting more.

RATING: 9.2/10

BEST TRACK(S): “Biscuit Town” “The Locomotive” “Dum Surfer” “Slush Puppy” “Cadet Limbo” “Czech One” “Half Man Half Shark”

WORST TRACK(S): “A Slide In (New Drugs)”

Evan Tridone is a contributor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.

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Tridone’s Top Tracks: King Krule’s “The OOZ” is one of the best albums of 2017