Archy Marshall debuted as Zoo Kid when he was an actual kid and released his acclaimed first album -- under the presumably self-bestowed title King Krule -- before he turned 20. Marshall continued work on new material for years but was displeased with it, save for a set of mumbling-in-a-bucket hip-hop blues, A New Place 2 Drown, credited to his off-stage name. The Ooz, the artist's second King Krule album, surfaced -- or is that seeped out? -- five years after the first one. Compared to the debut, the songwriting is more refined and the sounds are more disparate, resulting in a sort of controlled chaos, a scuzzy mix of nervy neo-rockabilly projectiles, howling dirges, and noodling dive-lounge tunes. It's further distinguished with saxophonist Ignacio Salvadores' writhing bleats, continually in support of Marshall's scraggly guitar work and variety of voices, as liable to sound like his slumped natural self as an exaggeration of growling punks like the Clash's Paul Simonon or the Ruts' Malcolm Owen. Clear references are made to Marshall's previous full-lengths, and repeated allusions to water -- as in sinking -- as well as blue as a color and feeling, are likewise threaded throughout. Damp, suffocating city streets are never distant. When Marshall retreats to physical solitude, he can't leave his head -- not even with a prescription, a situation related in a whirling frenzy of insomniac agitation titled, naturally, "Emergency Blimp." Marshall is just as expressive and evocative when he keeps it guttural; "She smoked me whole and blows out Os," over decayed, dispirited bossa nova, passes like a wisp but could be the album's emotional center. Details that seem to provide levity -- "Man this band that's playin', is playing fucking trash" among them -- have a way of heightening the sense of inescapable dread. No matter that feeling, illustrated with one distressed scene after another, filtered through a multitude of inspirations and a few bodily fluids, The Ooz is a completely engrossing work from a one-off. ~ Andy Kellman
Spin - "Everything seems to come through several concrete walls, forming a space that is somehow claustrophobic and vast, empty and teeming."
Magnet - "His raw-throated voice goes from whisper to semi-scream in seconds flat across multiple styles, rendering his entire oeuvre something of an aural Rorschach test..."
NME (Magazine) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "His vocals -- guttural, electric and still the star of the show -- seep from the cracks of songs sketched from jazz, punk, hip-hop, bossa nova and the ambient drift favoured by Dean Blunt and Frank Ocean."
Paste (magazine) - "[A]n artfully brooding, grime-y thing that stands as a terribly unique and nightmarish account of what it could sound like to spiral out of control."
Pitchfork (Website) - "THE OOZ is the richest and most immersive album he's made yet, under any name, by some distance."
Clash (Magazine) - "The jazz influence is heard from the outset as Marshall paints a picture of a morbid, urban backdrop filled with seedy characters and acute pop culture references over a darkly seductive oscillating synth soundscape..."