Artist: Scott Walker
Length: 10 tracks/ 68 minutes
Scott Walker's new work of
art is a tremendously difficult listen. Its subject matter is hallowing,
stilling, dealing with the struggles, pains, and evils that claw at the
individual and at society as a whole. Its songs are shattered, several-minute
dirges that never once resemble anything familiar or friendly. Walker
's vocals are operatic, his lyrics poetic and repetitious. There
is no inviting first impression of this record, little chance that it'll
even sink in without multiple devoted listens.
But as long as it might
take, as much effort as may be required, the Drift does reach that
point of sinking in, a point where comprehension does settle over the devoted
listener. And that's when it reveals its excellence.
The Drift is immense.
It matches every minute of clamor with subtler sounds and themes that unravel
again and again in more and more impressive ways. Incredible amounts
of tension are built and maintained at every turn, producing a bleak atmosphere
that is genuinely, startlingly frightening at many moments - this is as
compelling an expression of real darkness and terror through music as I
have ever heard.
It does not let up either,
not once through all ten of its songs, and finishing a full listen of the
Drift can feel like a release. It's not a record that will leave
you unaffected, an experience surely to be unlike anything you'll hear
for some time to come, fully rewarding, memorable, and original.
It's one of the best records of the year.
Jonathan Avants 9/9/06