Scott Walker
The Drift
(4AD)
From 1967 to 1970, Scott Walker released four records that intersected grand baroque arrangements with morbid undertones, sung in a voice that was a cross between Jacques Brel and Frank Sinatra. These post-Walker Brothers records laid the cult iconography and genius reputation of Walker. By the mid-’70s he entered an exile that lasted until 1984’s morbid and haunting Climate of the Hunter. With each successive record, his avant-garde dirges make supposed goths sound like Britney Spears. September 11 plays a huge role in the ideology of the overall psyche of the music. “Jesse,” penned in October 2001, features a dialogue about the tragedy between Elvis and his stillborn twin Jesse. Within the confines of this track the listener is given the only samples of anything remotely rock. Though at times the disc becomes dragged down into its own tortured-artist mystique, its views on the death of the American myth make for interesting theatre. It’s expertly arranged and executed, much like Walker’s classic early albums. The only problem a casual listener may have is the utterly depressing and downright bleak drone throughout. Push aside the eccentricities and get to the meat—this is a masterpiece of modern avant-garde composition, the songs fractured symphonies of a time when all hope is lost.
—Trevor MacLaren
categories: Coast pick

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