Scott Walker and Sunn O))) Soused
Published Oct 21, 2014News of a collaboration between experimental doom metal figureheads Sunn O))) and the inimitable '60s pin-up turned avant crooner Scott Walker raises the question — Will this be a Sunn O))) album with Scott Walker vocals overlaid or more of a Scott Walker album with Sunn O))) providing the instrumentation? Soused definitely leans towards the latter, but not without those trademark Sunn O))) riffs and long-form, drone-based compositions. On paper it seems like a surprising match, but given Stephen O'Malley's pedigree (collaborating with Tim Hecker and Oren Ambarchi, for example) and Walker's penchant for bombastic riffery, it's a much more logical pairing than you might first think.
Comprising five tracks ranging from eight to 12 minutes in length, Soused is less frenetic than Walker's solo material of recent decades, but it's no less out there. The same heavily-textured, grandiose soundscapes and obtuse, politically-derived lyrics blending classicist history and literature, — often used as a simile for current day woes — remain, and tracks such as "Herod 2014" have the same Giallo-inspired guitar riffs scattered amongst the Sunn O))) doomscape, sounding like a murder of crows being startled by some unseen dark force. Soused is a powerful and arresting album that will appeal to fans of Scott Walker's later work. Hopefully, if Sunn O))) fans can get behind Walker's unorthodox mock-operatic baritone, it will introduce a new audience to one of modern musical history's most underrated artists, especially with tracks like the unrelentingly ferocious "Bull." Do you remember when music actually used to be about something? Scott Walker and Sunn O))) do. (4AD)