4AD - Beggars Group, 2006
The 60s crooner turned revered High Modernist kept up his album-per-decade rate in the 2000s with this uncompromising slab of expressionism. "The Drift" is not to be listened to for pleasure, but experienced as serious modern art. More gothic than any actual goth, there's a hundred different shades of black, and you need headphones or no disturbance to be able to distinguish them. Chinese water-torture drum thumping, atonal bee-swarm strings, and even suspended hunks of meat hit with a stick, back Walker's unwaveringly strong baritone with an atmosphere of theatrical high angst. Its instinctively repulsive lyrical themes include Mussolini's public execution and Elvis Presley conversing with his stillborn twin brother, with no soft bunnies in sight. All respect to him for continuing such an individual path through the left field, but for me, his 1990s release "Tilt" has a far more satisfying balance of shocking innovation with musical substance.
May 24, 2008