Boomkat Product Review:
Scott 4 is one of those albums that gets touted as one of the very best ever to be made within the parameters of popular music, and it's an accolade that's richly deserved, even if in certain quarters Scott 3 is regarded with greater affection.
Originally issued under his birth name, Scott Engel, only years after his departure from ‘60s pop pinups The Walker Brothers, ‘Scott 4’ was the first of his albums to feature all original works (his previous LPs revolved translations of Jacques Brel songs), and found him tempering the orchestral arrangements in favour of a more pronounced rhythm section. The album didn’t fare well on its initial release, leading it to be deleted soon after, but subsequent reissues under his stage name Scott Walker have found acclaim as a pivotal piece of avant-garde, baroque pop that consistently appears in best albums of the 20th century lists, and has been often cited as a major influence on some of the late 20th C.’s most prominent artists from both avant-garde and pop fields.
I suppose that's what you get for writing songs about Neo-Stalinism, Ingmar Bergman films, and quoting Albert Camus on the sleeve. The Scott Walker of the sixties is of course a very different artist to the one who ended up standing at the pioneering edge of contemporary experimental music, and the lavish orchestrations of Scott 4 are a million miles from the overwhelming elliptical brilliance of 2006's The Drift, but the same levels of compositional and lyrical excellence - not to mention ambition - are evident throughout Walker's solo work.
It hardly needs to be said, but Scott 4 is one of the very greatest achievements in this artist's forty-something-year-old recording career, and cannot be recommended highly enough.