Scott Walker – Bish Bosch
Many felt that Scott Walker's curious investigation into the outer limits of contemporary songcraft had reached its ultimate culmination with his harrowing 2006 LP, The Drift, and to some extent Bish Bosch does feel like it resides in the shadow of that record. Again Walker's reference-heavy lyrics serve as the fulcrum as musical phrases lurch and splutter forward before dissolving back into an opulent ground of inky silence.
But whilst Walker's vocal and lyrical indulgences on The Drift were kept in check by a robust musicality and overarching sense of grim momentum, the music of Bish Bosch often seems to be operating at a distance from the lyrics that float above it; frequently giving the impression that one is listening to a particularly deranged one-man radio play. There's plenty of spectacular moments to be enjoyed (Phrasing and Epizootics! are vivacious highlights) but a fair stretch of the album's 73 minutes feels frustratingly monotonous. [Mark Shukla]