Former '60s pop crooner Scott Walker has had a spotty record of activity throughout most of his nearly four-decade-long career as a solo artist, releasing only one album of original material, in fact, between the period of 1974 to 1995. That record, 1983's Climate of Hunter, presented the former Walker Brothers vocalist as a jarringly eclectic pop/rock artist and certainly placed him far outside the typical boundaries of '80s music. Nevertheless, the oddly titled "Track Three" casts a spacey, foreboding mood through its plodding mechanical beginning and then an explosion of piercing lead rock guitar. Supported ably and unnervingly by the harmony vocals of R&B singer Billy Ocean, the song is genuinely strange and utterly wonderful.
Still, fans of Walker's baroque/sunshine pop sound from his previous musical fame will likely be disappointed or at least confused by the plodding dance rhythms and spare synthesizer instrumentation on display here. But it's possible to receive that experience as a positive one, especially considering the relative lack of production from Walker during this era. It's good to hear from him even if it's completely disorienting and responsible for creating an essentially creepy, robotic vibe. The uniquely passionate timbre of Walker's voice has always been able to cast a thick, gripping spell on listeners (witness a '60s stunner like The Walker Brothers' 1966 recording of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore"). However, the cryptic "Track Three" invades far different territory to find its way into the permanent rock music ether.
- Sample or download "Track Three" here.
- Compare prices on Scott Walker CDs here.
- Top '80s Makeovers of Established Artists
- Top Jefferson Starship & Starship Songs of the '80s
Album Cover Image Courtesy of Virgin