SCOTT WALKER – “‘TIL THE BAND COMES IN”/”THE MOVIEGOER (1970/1972)
Thankfully, dosage Scott Walker is currently enjoying a mini-comeback in the public eye, thanks to both the release of his latest album last year, “The Drift” (on 4AD), and the new documentary “Scott Walker: 30 Century Man”, which I’m stoked to be able to see around next week sometime, thanks to the world of bit torrents.
Much has been made of Walker’s first four solo albums (succinctly titled “1″, “2″, “3″ and “4″,) but my favorite album of his is “‘Til The Band Comes In” (1970), the first album of Scott’s that wasn’t entirely covers, Jacques Brel or otherwise. Walker’s ear for original content led to the creation of an album that is unrepentantly dark, yet full of hope at the same time. The record’s opening moments are given to a Kafkaesque sound effects suite, followed by possibly the most majestic Walker tune ever recorded, “Little Things (That Keep Us Together)”, a quick ode to all the crap in one’s life that can push you to the brink of insanity, but still make life worth living in the face of it. Prescient mentions of exploding jumbo jets and “while the war’s going on” aside, the song soars high with a tripled main vocal line and a triumphant Spanish feel. Combine that with the funky, distant rendition of “Stormy”, and you’d have a mini-classic, but the album keeps giving and giving until it has no more left to give, especially when it comes to the title track, with lyrics way too gonzo for pretty much any crooner to utter, such as “put my sub-human sound to the ground.” Apparently the album completely tanked upon its original release, as it proved too dour for even that bleakest of periods in our popular culture, the early ’70s.
I’ve also included here a download of another Walker ’70s nugget, “The Moviegoer”, which is just covers of movie theme songs. It’s nowhere near as good as “‘Til The Band Comes In”, but it’s okay nonetheless.