Mood and Mystique: Digging into King Krule’s THE OOZ ahead of his Union Transfer gig this weekend
October is already a spooky month. One that is shrouded in fear, and mystery thanks to holidays like Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos. Naturally, this would be the time for us to reflect on mortality and sorrow, and it makes sense that U.K. artist King Krule released his second studio album The Ooz on October’s Friday the 13th.
In a recent interview with the Pitchfork, Krule describes The Ooz as a sort of human substance that is made up of all the lackluster things in life. “It’s all about the gunk.”
And it is just that. Throughout the 19 track album, Krule mumbles and groans about the unfulfillingness of life. Although this attitude has the potential to come off as self-absorbed, there is something in Krule’s deep guttural tone that makes him an every-person for all the moody people who listen to him. Hearing the OOZ gives listeners the same “he can read my soul” relatable feeling that many of us have felt with the angsty music of our youth.
Although the OOZ sounds strikingly similar to 6 Feet Under The Sun, the amount of experimental jazz keeps things fresh. The first track “Biscuit Town” sets the depressed and moody tone for the rest of the album. Over flat chords, Krule croons, “For at least for now, it’s all over. Yeah, at least for now, it’s all over. I seem to sink lower.” The lyrics are vague and seem to speak of some deep-seeted internal sorrow that Krule appears to have accepted within himself.
On the single that was released in the summer 2017, “Dumb Surfer,” Krule details a messy night at a local pub where he starts off beating a guy out of $50 in a bet. Soon after, Krule finds himself drunk off his rocker while trying to impress a girl only to throw up at her feet. Somehow this does not deter the young woman from leaving with Krule. Unfortunately, their night ends with a car crash – thankfully no one is seriously hurt. “Dub Suffer” is a self-depreciating reflection of what happens when The OOZ – a person’s worst traits – meet in a haze of alcohol, weed, and hedonism.
“Slush Puppy” is reminiscent of a 1950’s pre-pubescent two-step slow dance that is leaving room for Jesus. The only difference is instead of the hopeful romantic feeling, Krule’s wailing declaration “deface me already, I’m a waste, baby, and I’m alone …. I’m this worthless you see nothing’s working with me.” It reminds listeners of his hopeless sorrow and dejection.
“Emergency Blimp” is one of the more upbeat songs on the album, with its simple pop-punk melody and chord progressions. In this track, Krule details his experiences dealing with insomnia and prescription sleeping pills. His doctor is constantly giving him different pills but none are helping. “These pills just make me drool,” mourns Krule.
Krule uses The OOZ to explore the sadder aspects of life – and for this, I have a great appreciation for his artistry for both this album and overall. Krule has a knack for articulating the inner dread and relentless despair that we all feel. While most people attempt to hide these emotions, Krule wears them as a badge of honor.
The only detraction that I have for this album is the fact that it sounds exactly the same at Krule’s previous release 6 Feet Under The Sun. In both albums, Krule explores hip-hop, punk, jazz, and blues. With The OOZ I was looking for the artist to take a deeper delve into one of these for four genres – instead Krule stayed within his comfort zone. Despite the redundancy, The OOZ is a quality album for all the moody souls who enjoy exploring the dark side.
King Krule plays a sold out show at Union Transfer this Sunday, October 22nd.