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Archy Marshall has recorded under the monikers of Zoo Kid, Edgar the Breathtaker, DJ JD Sports and The Return of the Pimp Shrimp, but it’s his King Krule persona that serves to fascinate and demand attention. With the swagger of Joe Strummer and the sage of Miles Davis, his music is a strange dazed sensation of jazz tinged beats. 2013’s 6 Feet Beneath the Moon was released when Marshall was 19. Behind the growling, grungy southern British voice was a stringy, ginger teenager who was more sullen and stoned than virtuoso-esque. Now 23, Marshall is the epitome of eccentric brilliance in the form of an ambivalent millennial; this is the kid who, despite his public dreams of money and audience, turned down an opportunity to work with Kanye West. Why? “The pressure to create on call,” Joe Coscarelli wrote in a piece for The New York Times.
2017’s The OOZ finds Marshall still brooding, questioning and defying, but there’s a sense that he is drowning within his own creativity, unable to find a jumping off point to continue. It's deep and dark in a way that’s impossible to ignore; Marshall’s lyrics feel more like psychiatrist notes, like things that a listener shouldn’t be hearing. “Biscuit Town” opens the album with Marshall’s signature slinking jazz, with muted bass and guitar backed by downtempo trip-hop. He’s barely audible on the verses of “The Locomotive,” and then howls with isolation and boredom on every bridge. “Dum Surfer” finds him drunk and wandering. “Slush Puppy” finds him seducing with self-deprecation; “I’m a waste, baby/And I’m alone/So you come over.” “La Lune,” the album’s closing track, is made up of dreamy guitars and lyrics that seem wise beyond Marshall’s years as he grumbles, “Well I was raised to the moon, just to hold a gaze with you.” It’s a refreshing and hazy romantic side of the album that is hidden amongst Marshall’s typical pensive ramblings.
“I’m not here,” he grumbles on “Sublunary.” The song name itself is a concept first developed by Aristotle, of an atmosphere beneath the moon with no form or consistent being. Much like Marshall’s musical personas, the sublunary sphere rarely stays the same. The loneliness of changing is a theme seen throughout the album. However, whether or not Marshall’s restlessness within the confines of being King Krule has phased his confidence in his own creativity is unimportant. The OOZ serves as the raw thought process of a true creative genius.