Parasite or paradise?
Archy Marshall (Recording under King Krule) returned from his four year long hiatus when he released his sophomore LP, “The OOZ”, on Oct. 13, 2017. His hour-and-six-minute long album covers a wide array of topics dealing with insomnia, depression, love, lust and consumption.
These topics are all connected by two major thematic concepts that run throughout the album. The first being the concept of “The OOZ” itself: what it is and what it entails for the living.
In an interview for Pitchfork, Marshall describes “The OOZ” as all about the kinds of things that people do subconsciously and likens it to people’s bodily fluids.
He describes it as the human body’s constant state of creating, and it is the constant need to create that ties the 19 songs that span the album together. Marshall describes it as ideas half digested and regurgitated as a sludge to be experienced. Among these regurgitated ideas lies the second major thematic concept that is present in “The OOZ.” It is a story of lovers and the cycle of over consumption of each other in which they are stuck–the thin line that separates paradise and parasite.
This concept is first noticeably observed in the first spoken word interlude on the track listing, “Bermondsey Bosom (Left).” On “Bermondsey Bosom (Left)”, Marshall is noticeably absent from the track. In his place, a woman speaking in a Spanish dialect delivers a spoken word piece describing a protagonist of sorts that is stuck in a grey zone between two states of being. He is described to be “lonely, but surrounded.”
The first thematic concept is referenced in this spoken word piece as well when the speaker states, “he arose a bloodsucker, painting objects in black and blue with projections of himself.” Here, these “projections,” represent the bodily creations that Archy described. As the piece is read, the second thematic concept is presented when the speaker describes the relationship between the two lovers as “you and I against this city of parasites, parasite, paradise, parasite, paradise.” These lines paint the lovers as the two of them against the world, left only to rely on each other.
Their relationship is further realized in the following track, “Logos.” From the first line of the song, it is clear how the relationship between them is almost entirely based on consumption.
Marshall opens the song with, “she smoked me whole and blows out o’s.” This line shows that Marshall is completely consumed by his lover, and in that consumption something is built by the two. This is mirrored in the closing line of the song as well when Marshall sings,“she draws me in and swallows whole.” This theme of being consumed to serve a purpose is also present in the mixing of the music as well.
Marshall’s presence on the track listing varies and adapts to match the theme of the song. This is seen as Marshall takes center stage on certain songs, like “Dum Surfer” and “Vidual,” while in others he is absent for a majority of the track, like “The Cadet Leaps.” This is intentional, as it reflects the theme presented in “Logos.”
Marshall’s presence shifts to ultimately create something that is deemed to be better and beautiful. It could be described as a paradise as these two entities consume each other and create something beautiful, but at the same time, also parasitic as their “selves” are lost somewhere in the mix. Marshall reflects on this relationship as he softly and melancholically delivers the line,“you used to complete me, but I guess I learned a lesson.” Marshall has learned from his parasitic paradise and is ready to move forward, wherever that may be.