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scott walker - Bish Bosch
*Deluxe double LP pressed onto 180g vinyl, includes a copy of the album on CD free inside. Also includes a comprehensive 36 page booklet* It can't be easy following a record as beguiling as 2008's genre-defying 'The Drift', but pounding to life with the incessant woodpecker percussion of album opener 'See You Don't Bump His Head', it's clear that 69-year-old Scott Walker has shock and awe in mind. He's never been an artist who's struggled with originality, and 'Bish Bosch' takes his aural cubism even further than ever before with confusing instrumentation and some of his finest vocal work to date. Where its predecessor profited from a hoarse, growling electronic backdrop, 'Bish Bosch' is almost circus-like in its approach, draped in horns, strings and crushing guitars - but rarely does the cacophony encroach on Walker's hallowed vocal tones. In what feels like a conclusion to a trilogy (along with 'Tilt' and 'The Drift') Walker has turned in a delightfully difficult to navigate masterpiece, filled with wrong-turns and red herrings. From the much hyped chorus of farts (it works, seriously) to the humorous asides on 'SDSS14+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)' it feels like Walker delights in making an generation of music listeners have to sing for their supper for the very first time. 'Bish Bosch' is a million miles from the instant gratification we'd hope to glean from the majority of contemporary releases, and yet it doesn't sound dated or stuck in time; rather Walker has created a record that sounds conscious of its surroundings while it tears them down relentlessly. The near-doomed, close apocalyptic holler of 'Bish Bosch' isn't likely going to appeal to everyone out there, but those of you looking for originality, craftsmanship, challenge and sheer imagination should look no further. Defiant, beautiful and occasionally spine-chillingly frightening, 'Bish Bosch' is a late contender for album of the year, and one that will be hard to shake from the mind any time soon.