Essential New Music: King Krule’s “The Ooz”

Much has been made of the British artist known to his family as Archy Marshall in the years between his youthful debut in 2010 as Zoo Kid and then the King Krule and Archy Marshall releases that followed in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Was he all Cockney guttersnipe in Artful Dodger mold? A down-at-the-heels art kid à la Amy Winehouse? The Streets redux? After listening to the latest instantiation of King Krule, the fact is Marshall is all and none of these things. His raw-throated voice goes from whisper to semi-scream in seconds flat across multiple styles (the jazzy low-key leanings of “Biscuit Town” and “La Lune,” the rockier, moodier edges of his spectrum via “The Locomotive” and “Emergency Blimp”), rendering his entire oeuvre something of an aural Rorschach test: What do you hear in it? As for me: I hear another kid in the time-honored tradition of Paul Weller between the Jam and the Style Council, eager to explore the musical universe without any adults telling him how to go about it.

—Corey duBrowa