Unlikely pairing yields Scott Walkers most enjoyable and listenable album in 19 years
In recent years Scott Walker’s musical output has been, well, harrowing at best. At times if feels that Walker is changeling his listeners to stick around until the album finishes. If/when you give up he is notified and chuckles while rubbing his hands laughing. This cannot be said for Soused. On this album Walker has released something that can be tangibly called ‘enjoyable’. A major factor of this new found enjoyment is down to his collaborators Sunn O))).
Sunn O))) are a three piece ambient metal group. Since their inception they have pushed the boundaries of what metal, experimental heavy rock and avant garde music can be. In a nutshell they play loud, slow, reparative and did I say loud? Their involvement on this album is a match made in heaven. What started off as a mutual love in, turned into something far more interesting and exciting. The juxtaposition of their hard, crunchy guitars and Walkers falsetto operative voice works perfectly and what’s more there are hooks that you can hum.
From the opening moment of Brando (Walkers opening vocals and a guitar riff that sounds a lot like Sweet Child of Mine), you get the impression that this is going to be something special. This gives way to the sound of a whip cracking and Sunn O)))’s trademark heavy, drawn out riffs. After that the album leads its own way through menacing soundscapes, riffs to die for and viseral lyrics for 48 minutes until the final track Lullaby (this isn’t something you’ll want to play to a baby to get them asleep) closes the album.
While this might not win Walker any new fans, it won’t alienate any existing ones. On Soused, Walker has created some of his most challenging, but listenable tracks in recent years. If you are dubious about an album of this type, heavy droney metal coupled with poetic lyrics (this is the album Lou Reed wanted to make with Metallica), don’t be, at times it’s light and playful, and extremely listenable! OK, this isn’t Scott 3, but it isn’t Tilt or Drift either.