Scott Walker

Bish Bosch

4AD

Dec 03, 2012 Issue #43 - Animal Collective Bookmark and Share


Scott Walker albums are like reading James Joyce's Ulysses. It's impossible to digest in only one sitting and can even drive you mad with its labyrinthine web of allusions during a second, fifth, or tenth pass. Over 45 years into his recording career, the former U.K. boy band semi-star (as one of The Walker Brothers) is still crafting art pieces that are as harrowing as they are visionary. Walker is notorious for tinkering over his albums for years, so the relatively quick release of Bish Bosch should be noted. The wait between the last two Scott Walker full-lengths took over a decade (1995's Tilt and 2006's The Drift).

The dogmatic Ohio artist upended modern pop conventions on those two releases. Bisch Bosh continues that dissonant trend with Walker's distinctive baritone croon in the midst of the avant-garde storm. There is more emphasis placed on rock tropes this time, but Walker's lyrics are just as oblique. For instance, opening track "'See You Don't Bump Your Head'" includes the following couplet: "while plucking feathers from a swan song/a cobweb melts within a womb." Like most surreal artists, Walker's music is meant to be appreciated as disparate and moody-as-hell tone poems. There's also plenty of gallows humor for fans of the horror genre. "Corps De Blah" has this line: "nothing clears a room like removing a brain."

All of these tracks retain the spooky eminence of earlier efforts. This isn't music for a first date or your grandma's next tea party. Listeners that can't stand the noise can just move on to the next pop record. Walker is in a whole different dimension. (www.4ad.com/artists/scottwalker)

Author rating: 8/10

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