See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Album Review: Scott Walker and Sunn O craft dark, cinematic 'Soused' 

When it was announced that Scott Walker and Sunn O would be collaborating on an album, music nerds around the world scratched their heads and said, "This should be interesting." At first glance, the two names might look strange next to each other, but when you hear what they've done, it quickly becomes clear that these artists were meant to work together. The product to emerge is a sprawling, metallic exploration to the furthest boundaries of avant-garde rock music.

Every aspect of this project panders to the gloomy side of human nature. The dark, abyssal cover imagery looks like a watercolor painting by H.R. Giger, depicting the murky blackness that awaits the listener. As expected, the music sounds like the Earth opening up to swallow you whole.

On "Brando," Walker sings, "A beating would do me a world of good," as a whip cracks in the background. "Herod 2014" paints the modern-portrait of a ruthless man who is willing to kill anything or anyone in his way. The use of the Ojibwa lullaby implies that the victims are Native American children.

The extremely down-tuned guitars of Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley carry "Bull," which at times fools the listener into believing it might fit a structure. Walker's lyrics are as confusing as ever as he chants, "Custodiunt migremus," which is Latin for "custodial agreement." Sunn O's familiar squeals of feedback stab through the mix, as the 71-year-old Walker's still robust but trembling voice reverberates in some dusky, ethereal plane.

This collaboration sees Sunn O playing with melody and rhythm more than they have in their entire career. Scott O relies heavily on the moodiness of each act, respectively, creating something that is darkly imaginative, as well as sonically cinematic.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 14, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit