Scott Walker + Sunn O))): Soused (4AD) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Scott Walker + Sunn O)))

Soused

4AD

Oct 21, 2014 Issue #51 - September/October 2014 - alt-J Bookmark and Share


Scott Walker began to spread his eclectic compositional wings by poaching the studio orchestra hired for the "square" recordings of his day gig in The Walker Brothers. In his biographical documentary 30 Century Man, one of his arrangers demonstrates an abstract chord Walker presented to the orchestra, a complex dissonance one note shy of terror and one note in excess of tranquility.

Walker employs Sunn O))) the way he once did those studio orchestras, pushing their vocabularies toward new frontiers. Opener "Brando" bursts forth like sunshine, with shimmering synths and a weird arena-rock lead guitar that is equal parts Derek Bailey and Neil Schon. Walker starts us out in the tall weeds and never walks us back, ululating about a "white misery" and later, over bleak drone metal stabs, insists a "beating would do me a world of good."

"Herod 2014" is maybe the closest track to being stereotypically indicative of this collaboration, Sunn O)))'s ocean-moving guitars resonating stoically under Walker's mournful narrative of a (perhaps delusional) woman running from the murderous titular king in a contemporary setting. "Bull" is a rock and roll song followed by the creepy horror soundtrack-esque flourish of "Fetish." In fact, Soused is a horrifying album in all the best possible ways: disturbing, evocative, and utterly focused on the neglected aspects of human experience. "Lullaby" offers no real comfort, its tranquility interrupted by something like a cue from The Omen while Walker narrates an oral invitation to the party in Eyes Wide Shut.

Perhaps it goes without saying but Soused is a slow burnit likely will not hold immediate appeal for fans of either outfit though it will deeply intrigue them. It's recommended, however, that one follow that intrigue and await the inevitable opening of its mysteries. This is more than an albumthis is an exemplar of contemporary boundary-pushing art to be consumed slowly and patiently. Get it while it's fresh, kids. (www.4ad.com/artists/scottwalkersunno)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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