Even Neil Simon would have been reluctant to throw up the idea of a drone metal band from Seattle and legendary crooner from the ‘60s when ruminating on unlikely couplings. But that pairing is exactly what occurred when Scott Walker and Sunn O))) announced that they had been working on an album titled Soused.
Walker may have made his name as the chart riding ‘sibling’ in the Walker Brothers before launching a solo career that would see his rich baritone allow him to reach pop icon status. Since 1995, Walker has reinvented himself with a bleak trilogy of avant garde tunes that would reach a brand new audience. Soused by comparison comes across as a less challenging listen.
Sunn O))) are known for playing it slow and at a blistering volume, and on Brando find that Walker’s vocals sit perfectly amongst the menacing drone and sporadic burst of guitar. Where Brando is charming and haunting, Herod 2014 sounds like a man with a operatic voice trapped in an industrial bin as he bangs away to get people’s attention whilst vicious birds circle overhead.
There are times when the sense of discord makes Scott Walker + Sunn O))) sound like a dark angel sitting on Antony Hegarty’s shoulder, but it is this uncompromising exploration that makes Soused a success.