Sunday, May 14, 2006

Current Buns No.15 (Great Scott!)

In total contrast to the last posting - mine ears are also currently doing battle with the mighty new Scott Walker album, The Drift. Many have already waxed lyrical in a far more erudite fashion on this somewhat...ummm...'challenging' work than I ever could, yet I feel inclined to put in a two centsworth just to show that I'm no slouch in the 'out there' stakes (as if)...
The fact of the matter is that it's a big ol' beast of an album. Its subjects (Mussolini's mistress, Elvis' brother as analogy for twin towers etc) all show a man who's both extremely eager to NOT be obscure (check the sleeve notes) and also THINKING about stuff. Hardly that avant garde, then. What IS challenging is his ability to cling to his crooner's method of vocal expression, when matched to the brooding soundscapes that lurk round every corner on every track (never has an album seemed to lapse so much into near silence). I found myself having to explain to a total Walker virgin the other day why the Drift is prone to make even hardened free jazz nuts in my office shudder. Imagine trying to map out his journey - from mum-friendly hits like "The Sun..."and "Joanna" to stuff that gets namechecked by people to signify their Wireness (a new adjective I'm quite proud of) - to someone who's never heard a thing he's done since "No Regrets". And gawd bless him for being so damn contrary. But really, he's just being, well, European. No one would have made such a fuss in Paris in 1968. Which is, I think, where Scott still is, in his head.
The Drift is definitely unpleasant and uncomfortable, but it's also beautiful, heartening and inspiring to anyone who feels that modern music has run out of steam. His voice is strange and mannered, but then, so is Bob Dylan's. I'm just glad he is still around and able to do such things to my lazy, complacent head. I'm not ready to turn into Nick Hornby yet...
Last thing: I caught an interview with the other Walker brothers (you know, John and Gary; the ones who didn't really do anything except look pretty) on Classic Gold. Universal are releasing another Walker Brothers compilation...a coincidence? I think not. And one that really should be ignored. Yes, I LOVE the Walker Brothers. But don't cloud the radar, man. The Drift deserves ALL your attention.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Wireness--I like it. Around our house, the running joke is, "Is it Wire-approved?"