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Scott Walker + Sunn O))): Soused (Album Review)


Scott Walker indicated after his 2012 album, Bish Bosch, that he was ready for a new direction after a trilogy that included Tilt (1995) and The Drift (2006). But after 36 years exploring the furthest margins of mainstream taste, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the 60s pop star who once duetted with Dusty Springfield is now collaborating with Sunn O))), the shroud-wearing Seattle drone metallers celebrated for murky, slow chords played at a punishing volume. Yet Soused is surprisingly melodic, Sunn O))) provide a menacing but rich backdrop to Walker’s distinctive baritone. The sound palette may have changed, but Walker’s lyrics address familiar themes: totalitarian states (a mother hiding her babies from “the goon from the Stasi” in Herod 2014); humankind’s brutality (a crucifixion in Bull); and the movies (the sadomasochistic Brando, with its references to Marlon). And the loneliness of the long-distance pop singer is spelled out on Lullaby, a 1999 Walker song first recorded by Ute Lemper: “The most intimate personal choices and requests central to your personal dignity will be sung.”