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CD review: Scott Walker’s ‘Bish Bosch’

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Annie Zaleski

The Details

Two stars
Scott Walker
Bish Bosch

Although Bish Bosch is only Scott Walker’s fourth solo record in the past three decades, the cult singer-songwriter’s influence looms large over indie rock. Antony and the Johnsons’ theatrical cabaret, Dirty Projectors’ meticulous orchestral-pop and Xiu Xiu’s macabre abstraction all take cues from Walker’s style. Unlike much of the music made by those artists, however, Bish Bosch is a tough, uncompromising listen. Less a compilation of songs and more a jumbled, amorphous collection of sounds and textures, the album touches on free jazz, avant-garde noise, droning electro and slow-motion post-punk. Surreal non-sequiturs (sample: “Blowing up bullfrogs with a straw”) double as lyrics, while thundering percussion, bleating horns, harsh guitar scrapes and even fart noises (seriously) add tension, drama and confusion. The most accommodating part of this music is Walker’s voice, which remains a velvety croon unsullied by age. Good experimental music should challenge the listener, Bish Bosch mostly alienates.

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