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Scott Walker 

The Drift (4AD)

Best remembered as a former Walker Brother and all-around '60s easy-listening perv, Scott Walker (né Engels) has long been the most unhinged of artists — and from the sound of things here, that door of his is still nowhere near ready to swing, if one takes my meaning. All in all, The Drift sounds like nothing so much as what might happen if the ghost of Anson Williams's vocal coach fronted 154-era Wire on an extended song cycle covering the subjects of psoriasis, "black cocaine" and curare (rhymes with "Volare"). Dissonant symphonic anti-grandeur, detuned guitars, whining electronics, tribal drumming — all of this stands at lopsided attention before the stentorian vocal stylings of Walker, clear and cruel and — well, let's just say dude's left Jacques Brel pretty far behind. There are moments on this record so unsettlingly weird that I hesitate to even describe them for fear of some sort of karmic retribution. Proceed with caution.

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