Wisdom and pain permeate The OOZ like cigarette smoke in a 1950s jazz club. King Krule’s second album, released after a four-year hiatus, brings the hallmarks from 2013’s 6 Feet Beneath the Moon to new levels of intimacy. Tainted by love and loneliness, The OOZ is King Krule at his most vulnerable.
He spends the duration of the album outfitted with crashing drum patterns, sporadic keys, lush guitar riffs and saxophone solos. The OOZ portrays a soundscape that is lavish, yet uniquely subdued and raw, like the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest: pure isolation. King Krule explores the ins and outs of relationships. At times, Krule abandons the tracks to let the listener sit and think for themselves, giving his lamentations room to breathe.
As expected, The OOZ doesn’t rely on influences from a single genre, nor does it fit a specific categorization. Jazz, hip-hop, alt-rock and all leave their mark on King Krule’s second album. He rap-sings on the album opener “Biscuit Town,” croons on “Lonely Blue” and lets the instrumentals speak for him on “Sublunary.”
Spectacular storytelling comes through on “Dum Surfer” where Krule tells the story of a night spent at a local pub ultimately resulting in car crashes and the expulsion of that night’s meal. The vocals on “Vidual” bounce up and down like a car with poor suspension on a backcountry road.
While each individual track stands out on its own, The OOZ’s strongest attribute is its coherence. Transitions with added vocal effects create seamless ambience that sounds like it came from outside, from somewhere unknown.
King Krule’s songs carry incredible emotional weight. Maybe it’s because his songwriting is concise and expressive. Maybe it’s because his deep, brooding voice carries so much power. Either way, his second album is one that should not be ignored.