The Wizard of OOZ?

Remi Georgia asks whether King Krule's new album is magic, or madness.

Remi Frazer-Walters and Aurora Krogh

Dealing with the everyday complications that living seems to come with is hard enough for the average Joe, without the addition of depression. And although depression is romanticised on occasion, it really and truly is never handsome.  

And yet King Krule – also known as Archy Marshall, formerly known as Zoo Kid, DJ JD Sports and Edgar The Beatmaker – has dragged something of ravishing beauty from the ugly monster named depression, and produced an amazing piece of art in the form of his latest album, The OOZ. 

The cover of the new album The OOZ

Officially released on Friday 13th October 2017, The OOZ makes a strong statement straight off the bat. 

The Album’s first song ‘Biscuit Town’ taps the new wave of quarter-life crisis within twenty-somethings. “I seem to sink lower in Biscuit Town,” Krule sings, “You’re shallow waters, I’m the deep seabed.” Soon after in ‘The Locomotive’ he continues with a hint of narcissism yet brutal honesty: “We all have our evils / We’re just told to keep cool 

Krule’s simplistic album cover, in which the colours work deliciously to suggest cotton candy afloat in the rich blue sky, contrasts with the harrowing depth of the lyrics. In every expression, whether aesthetic or lyrical, Krule has no intentions of politely asking if what he has to say will be heard. Instead he screams for attention in ‘Emergency Blimp’ before softening the blow with his silky howl in ‘Lonely Blue’.  

Ironically this self-proclaimed King has lived a life far from royal. Krule grew up moving between his mother’s home in East Dulwich and his father’s flat in Peckham, and has always been an untameable and misunderstood spirit.  

Krule told the Guardian that when he was young he was mistakenly tested for a number of mental illnesses – an experience which has directly influenced his work: “I think she thinks I’m bipolar,” he  jeers in The OOZ’s casually alluring ‘Biscuit Town’.  At times he gave up hoping for better days and – in his words from  the 2103 track ‘Cementality’ – wished to “become one with the cement”.

The fact that Krule has fought his demons throughout his life is often most transparent when his melodies seem to take over, as they do in in ‘Half Man, Half Shark’. The   downtrodden lyrics contradict the upbeat instrumental as he bays the lyrics: “Aspirations ingrown, girl /I’ll forever be alone / They just don’t care.” 

In ‘Bermondsey Bosom (Right)’ Krule steers away from singing for just a moment, intoxicating the listener with a spoken word piece that oozes vulnerable passion.

The OOZ communicates an air of suffering – as if its creator has finally had enough of fist fighting with the pains of life. It’s a raw rollercoaster of an album. But to really understand what Krule is portraying in this dreamy, mumbled work, maybe one has to be at least slightly lost, and not quite ‘normal’ at all. 

The OOZ is a new age album with a feel of the sixties. It can’t decide whether it wants to be a collection of poems, sweet songs or punk rock. But in all honesty it need not decide anyway, because it is a beautiful mess, which matches the mind of kooky King Krule himself. To have it any other way would be a travesty.