Bish Bosch album cover
Bish Bosch

Scott Walker


There are hundreds of albums as detached from the norm as Bish Bosch but few that are so internally coherent, given time and attention. Bish Bosch is an unrestrained representation of Walker’s night brain, let loose upon a budget generous enough to fund both farting and sword-scraping. There is slightly less of the intense string-section work that Walker usually grappled with in his career. This time, the percussionist Alasdair Malloy, the drummer Ian Thomas, and the guitarist Hugh Burns carry much of the weight. They are appealing foils—Burns’s guitar is often like a second voice, high and impossibly unpleasant, and a sort of stage lighting for Walker, creating ghostly soft tones. Malloy is the one banging on things and wielding the machetes—in Walker’s new songs, timekeeping is rare but texture is vital. The words are close to Joyce in their universality and coded, self-swallowing tendencies. “God creates animals and then man. Jackaroo in the slew.” Walker heard the everyday language of a world near ours, but not ours.

Sasha Frere-Jones

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