THE NEW YORKER: Archy Marshall, the enigmatic South London singer best known as King Krule, is a creature of the night. Known since the age of 15 as a preternaturally wise and unpredictable songwriter, Mr. Marshall, now 23, has assumed the mantle of a bard for the shrouded underclass, churning his anxiety, depression and insomnia into swampy, after-dark tales for the mischievous and disaffected. On songs that mix jazz, punk, dub, hip-hop and the affectations of a zonked-out lounge crooner, he has cut what he calls “gritty stories about the streets” with a “sensitive and romantic side,” aiming to take “social realism and make it social surrealism.”
He’s also timelessly cool, a child of bohemia with a sharp proletarian edge, tall and model-gaunt with a gold-capped front tooth and a fluff of red hair. “In the dead of night I howl/We all have our evils,” Mr. Marshall snarls in his harsh, accented baritone on the new King Krule album, “The Ooz,”returning to his typical themes.[…] “The Ooz” is a return to himself, written over three years when Mr. Marshall moved back in with his mother in the district of East Dulwich in London. At 19 tracks and more than an hour long, the album, his second as King Krule, feels like a swan dive into Mr. Marshall’s turbulent subconscious, jarring by design as it lurches from laid-back almost-rap (“Biscuit Town”) to post-Clash punk (“Dum Surfer”) back to ’50s-style rock ’n’ roll balladeering (“Lonely Blue”).[…]
The album, dense and uncompromising, as well as its delayed delivery, also place Mr. Marshall in a class of semi-reluctant indie idols like Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt and James Blake — a cadre of cult artists in the making (and like-minded sometime collaborators) who have chosen to withdraw rather than ride the ego-dragon into commercial ubiquity. All prodigy children of the internet who synthesized original combinations of influences — and adolescent angst — into fresh sounds, this group tends to inspire deep, loyal fandom with its commitment to artistic integrity and layered multimedia work. MORE
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