Music

ALBUM REVIEW | AVANT-GARDE

Scott Walker & Sunn O))), ‘Soused’

Scott Walker’s velvety croon is still a presence on oldies stations, thanks to “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” and other tracks by his former group the Walker Brothers. But his subsequent solo work has ventured further afield from that band’s sparkling pop with each release. He still possesses a gorgeous voice, but he deploys it on inside-out melodies that both steady and illuminate his abstract lyrics and dread-soaked musical landscapes. It’s fitting, then, that he tapped the doom-drone outfit Sunn O))) to collaborate with him on “Soused.” Sunn O)))’s glacially moving drop-tuned riffs are an excellent bed for Walker’s precisely skewed vocals, and on “Soused,” the combination becomes the starting point for even more sonic experimentation: A bullwhip is a menacing percussion element on “Brando”; “Lullaby” is anything but, its maniacal veering serving as the stuff of nightmares. Haunting, jarring, and oddly beautiful, “Soused” defies the idea of “easy listening,” but its singular vision and harnessing of the avant-garde makes it one of the year’s most compelling artistic statements. (Out Tuesday)

MAURA JOHNSTON

Essential“Lullaby”

Maura Johnston can be reached at maura.johnston@gmail.com