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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Drift
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£18.35+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 29 June 2006
This is another review which is going to one end of the scale or the other and I'm firmly in the 5 stars camp. Having got into Scott as a result of hearing he was an influence on other artists I like and having the easy way in suggested to me: Boy Child, Scott's 1-4, Sings Brel etc. I found Climate Of Hunter and Tilt exceedingly hard work.

The Drift is by comparison a complete contrast. It has only taken 4 or 5 listens for the beauty and simplicity of the music to start to introduce itself to me. I've barely had time to consider the words Scott is using. At the moment his voice is merely another instrument. A part of a whole.

The album reminds me greatly of the production job Scott did on Pulp's We Love Life album. There are definite echoes of I Love My Life and Wickerman in the guitar sounds and thunderous effects on Jesse and Psoriatic respectively. Buzzers somehow manages to effortlessly swing from a mournful dirge to tantalizing hints of the swooning string arrangements which characterised Scott's work with Wally Stott and Peter Knight.

I don't listen to this album for enjoyment, I don't expect my friends to like it, and I'm not even sure what exactly I like about it. All I know is that in The Drift Scott has created an atmospheric piece, which should be seen as one work of art and not 10 tracks. Some of the atonal string work on CUE reminds me of the Fire Suite on Brian Wilson's SMiLE. This can be no bad thing.

Far from losing his muse Scott has found it, grabbed it, refined it and put it out there for the rest of us to marvel at.

This is the work of a genius and is exceedingly beautiful.
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on 22 October 2009
Listen to Clara at a high volume, without doing anything else, without any distractions and you'll probably never sleep properly again. This is music for the strong, an almost sadomasochistic experience. Hear the pounding of pig flesh. Ponder at what the hell is going on during The Escape which has created its very own genre of disney noir. Remember that movie 300? This is the aural equivalent; only the brave, only the ones who have grown bored with the everyday, the limited, the boring trivialities should try even one note. Test your spirit against this, read your Kierkegard, this is the sickness unto death in the rotting flesh. This is not love songs, this is not pop, this is not even death metal. The question is where do we go from here?
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on 28 August 2007
Sometimes there's a book, a painting, a film or a piece of music that just keeps nudging you, long after you've played it, decided you feel attracted, baffled, dumbfounded, slightly foxed, interested but uncommitted, and replaced it on the shelf. David Lynch's Mulholland Drive had me like that. I couldn't have told you what exactly happened, or to whom, or whether, ummm, the person I thought it happened to just now was the same person it happened to in this scene. Which is normally a minus point... but no: sure enough, for months individual scenes, words, colours, feelings just kept nagging at me, coming back to me in quiet moments, until I went back to it again. and again. And again. That's how it is with The Drift. You won't love it first time - you'll be too concerned with trying to latch onto bits of recognisable pop. The riff of Cossacks Are; the musical quote from Jesse,'Jailhouse Rock' slowed down to an acoustic Black Sabbath drone. And in between, well, there are no neat chunks of answers, no more auto-pilot pat 12-bars-and-out passages. Just clues. Just impressions. Just images. Just sounds. And at first, that's a little bit intimidating, a little bit like being lost, and you just want to find out where you are (latch onto those landmarks) and get home by the shortest route. But the beauty, the addictive, indescribable beauty, of The Drift, is that it just leaves you to explore this place. And you get to know it, and feel like you live there. You never get bored because you really, genuinely, never get to latch onto a piece of something regular or conventional that you know will last until the solo etc etc. Get a personal stereo and put this on. Live here. It's terrifying at times, sure, but it's exciting. Neever mind all the worthy adjectves (brave, experimental, bleak etc)... this is a ride and a half, the full hairs-standing-on-end bit. You won't want to go back.
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on 31 October 2006
The king of brooding avant-rock returns over a decade after 1995's immensely rewarding aural challenge, Tilt. So, has he mellowed, perhaps come full circle, The Drift a collection of pop tunes with guest appearances from the other Walker siblings? You can probably guess the answer.

The Drift is a punishing listen, painfully intense and more than a little bonkers. The lyrics remain cryptic as ever, Walker on Jesse addressing 9/11 via Elvis Presley's stillborn twin, elsewhere pondering the woman who insisted on dying with Mussolini and punching a donkey on the streets of Galway. Away from impenetrable couplets and Donald Duck impressions, historical politics dominate on tracks such as Clara and Escape, a glint of humanity on a truly alien record.

The music retains a humming, industrial clatter throughout, the only track resembling a `normal' rock song tellingly being the opener, Cossacks Are. Even this, its queasy drumbeat like a basketball being bounced in a puddle, is hugely unnerving. The 9 tracks that follow are some of the most bizarre and scary you will hear all year, because frankly, no-one makes records like Scott Walker.

On that note, a warning: do not listen to this if you have a heart condition. Walker peppers tracks with immediate, terrifying discordant strings, his eerie baritone bellowing overhead. Even considering the sparse guitar licks and meat-punching (you read it right) that accompany his lyrics, Walker's voice may prove to many to be the most uneasy part of the album. Everything is sung in his now trademark mini-operatic waver. This combined with his vivid imagery and defiant non-music might sound like some unholy chaos, and to some degree it is, but it remains utterly unique throughout.

What compels Scott Walker to make such recordings is a mystery to me, and to be truthful, I don't want to know the answer. Whatever the reason, the result is an opaque, mind-blowing album, and even if he takes ten years to make the next one, chances are this'll still be lurking around your CD player come 2016.
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on 24 May 2007
(Note: I wrote this review a while ago and gave the album four stars. That was a mistake. It should be ten. The trouble is, I can't change the rating above. Anyway, buy this album.)

When I first heard this record, I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe that someone could get away with making rubbish like this. 'Songs' sung on one note, no melody, no structure. And scary. I can't talk about individual tracks - they're all the same, scary. My daughter begged me to switch it off when she heard it, she was terrified. Fortunately, however, I gave it time and effort. So far it's been about four or five months and when I come home from work the record I always want to listen to, despite the lack of tunes, is this one. I don't understand why.

Walker's voice is amazing, of course, and the 'sonic landscape' (as Eno might put it) is constantly interesting and full of the unexpected. You can't sing along to it though.

If you're prepared to put in the effort, you may eventually enjoy this album. But don't count on it.
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on 23 January 2008
I think the sound on this album (can you call it music?) is glorious amazing and stretches the imagination. Extremely evocotive but i find the lyrics revolting in places rather than scary.
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on 16 May 2006
Contemporary critics of the German Jewish Poet, Paul Celan, accused him of veering towards an expression that mirrored an altogether private world. Indeed, Celan set out to refine a "Hermetic language" that only he could unlock and codify, re-translating the tragedies of losing his mother and neighbours in the region of Bukovina, as the engines of extermination gathered momentum.

Just as Celan presented us with a cryptographic geography of the horrors of European Fascism. Walker boldly takes up the challenge and presents his own " Hermetic" world of horrors, without resorting to moralising. Each song is like a deep focus lense of war journalism, of the kind that we don't watch on televison anymore. Our collective eyes de-sensitized to atrocity, while our ears are deaf to the grief of the wandering dead, desperate to relay their stories to the living.

Thank god we have artists that still have private worlds.
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on 21 March 2014
You have to admire Walker - his voice and looks are iconic and he could easily cream financial success by regurgitating his music from the 60/70's to the legions who dote on that and ignore everything from Climate of Hunter to his present recordings. The tone-poem/psuedo operatic style of his contemporary albums coupled with the abstact Beckett like lyrics are a beguiling soundscape for the ever rich qualities of his voice. He has effectively exploded and ditched the popular song format and more is the pity that there are not more contemporary song writers willing to do that.
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VINE VOICEon 11 May 2006
I thought a straightforward review based on several listenings might be useful to others wondering whether to buy "The Drift". However I don't claim to have fully taken it all in yet - it is such a lengthy, complex record that it will take a while.

It's easier to convey "The Drift" to you if you've heard "Tilt" (if you haven't, read on anyway). It took me a few years to like "Tilt" and I did that by not attempting to understand it but by just enjoying the music, the voice, and the beauty and/or darkness conjured up by the juxtaposition of sounds.

Having heard "The Drift" a few times now, I realise that "Tilt" has tunes. There is nothing really comparable on "The Drift", no Farmer In The City for instance. The Cockfighter is perhaps closest.

"The Drift" consists of 68 minutes of music. Most of the tracks are what we might call collages of sound, sometimes quiet, sometimes loud and brash. The lyrics generally form a collection of statements or bursts of wording, from which you're perhaps left to construct your own meaning or message. There are few melodies in the common sense of the word. Scott's voice is still recognisable as the Scott of the past, just older and conveying less warmth than it once did. Not that there is much need for warmth, given the subject matter of some of these songs - 9/11; the hanging of Claretta Petacci alongside Mussolini; Milosevic. What the rest are about I don't yet know and perhaps never will. Do we need to know?

It possibly all sounds rather awful so far. In fact it's not, it's really very good indeed. Any who liked "Tilt" will enjoy the experience and find plenty to challenge them. Anyone who doesn't want their music to be easy will similarly feel at home here. And whilst the album is obviously carefully constructed, it doesn't seem glossily overproduced - you can tell this is just as he wanted it to sound, every note well intentioned. If you want depth to your music, here it is.

This record won't set the charts alight and the tracks won't be played much on the radio, if at all. You won't be putting this on as gentle background music at your dinner party (though it is great driving music).

If you are new to Scott Walker, don't start here unless you are very brave and understand what has come before. Better to begin with one of the collections (Boy Child is a good bet) or, better still, pick up Scotts 1 to 4. If you're just someone who wants to escape the mass consumerism and bland commercialism of a lot of today's releases, give "The Drift" a go. Turn it up loud, sit back, open your mind and enjoy.
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on 30 May 2007
I bought this on the monday it came out & decided not to listen to it straight away that evening. I was pre-warned to Scott's 'recent' output, having Tilt, the Pola X soundtrack & Climate Of Hunter. I bunged it on my mp3 player & listened to it on the way to work the next day. When I stepped into the shop, a colleague approached me & asked if I was ok. She thought I'd been in some form of accident!

This is a hard going album. You cannot be apathetic about it when you hear it. It does take months to appreciate. (Like Videodrome,) It's definitely not for mass consumption, but the imagery it conjures up is astounding. It reminds me, at the quieter moments, of my childhood confusion at watching Sapphire & Steel. It fills you with a mixture of fear, bewilderment & wonder.

Give it a go.
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