Scott Walker’s Bish Bosch, the final album out of a thematic trilogy that includes Tilt and The Drift, is a complex contradiction, much like the man himself—dense with convoluted metaphors, dark imagery and even low-brow fart humor. It is a difficult album to process but contains nuggets of brilliance scattered throughout the cinematic intensity and uncomfortable lulls. Almost seemingly designed to offend, Bish Bosch could soundtrack a particularly nightmarish David Lynch film.
The album starts off with 30 seconds of pounding percussion, followed by Walker’s deep baritone moan wailing throughout “See You Don’t Bump His Head,” the first track. The album is a mishmash of different musical genres and practically parodies more serious types like jazz and opera. The longest track, “SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter),” is musically dull yet lyrically shocking, with Walker most memorably moaning, “I’ve severed my reeking gonads/Fed them to your shrunken face.” The most pleasant song to listen to is the groovy first single, “Epizootics!,” a jazzy, Hawaiian-influenced hula number with an appropriately scary music video accompanying it.
While Bish Bosch may not be the most easy album to digest, it doesn’t lack for talent or shock value. It is also rife with literary and cultural references, beginning with the title: In an interview with Pitchfork, Walker explained that Bish Bosch is an interpretation of the U.K. idiom “bish bash bosh,” meaning job done, as well as a reference to the bastardization of bitch and to the artist Hieronymus Bosch. Obviously Walker enjoys wordplay as much as mind games.