Soused

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The gist Ever wondered what an avant-metal band fronted by Scott Walker would sound like? Wonder no more... The music Originally asked to guest on 2009’s Monoliths & Dimensions by the avant-garde/doom/drone/metal (delete where appropriate) concern Sunn O))), the ever adventurous Walker decided instead to collaborate on a full album of which Soused is the result. Kicking off with “Brando”, the title an obvious allusion to Marlon, Walker cries “a beating would do me a world of good” companied by the sound of throbbing synth, relentless drone and the best use of a bullwhip in a song since “The Legend of Xanadu” by former Walker Brothers 1960s touring mates Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich (it would be fantastic if this was Walker’s actual intention). The epic “Herod 2014” follows. A whirling intro is carried by Walker’s plaintive cry of “she’s hidden her babies away” successfully creating a claustrophobic sense of infanticidal unease. “Bull” adds yet more drama, but its metallic elements also give way to black humour – “leapin’ like a Riverdancer’s nuts” anyone? The penultimate “Fetish” is at once silent and diabolic in its volume, Walker’s spectral voice articulating lyrics concerning, amongst other things, spunk and lepers (try as I might I can find no Dave Dee links here). The final piece of the Soused jigsaw is also the greatest. Originally written for (and subsequently recorded by) Ute Lemper, “Lullaby” is the piece where the collaboration really comes into its own. Beginning as a thing of menacing, dark slow burning beauty Walker states "The most intimate personal choices and requests central to your personal dignity will be sung” which leads to a denouement of synthesized white noise and Walker’s deliberately off key and unsettling take on a simple lullaby. Unsettling and even at times verging into the realms of the absurd, Soused is probably Walker’s most accessible album since 1995’s “Tilt” (although I realise these things are relative). What is undeniable is that once again Walker has proved that he is a master of his art and continues to dance to his own twisted and abstract tune. Listen to “Brando” – synths, drone metal guitar, allusions to an all-time great actor and a cameo by Peter Gamble, the bullwhip champion of Great Britain. What more do you need? “Lullaby” – both enigmatic and impassioned. Superb.