The Drift is the thirteenth studio album by the American solo artist Scott Walker. It was released on the 8 May 2006 and reached number 51 on the UK Albums Chart. No singles were released from the album. Apart from composing the soundtrack to the film Pola X, the album was Walker's first studio album in eleven years and only his third studio album since the final disbanding of The Walker Brothers in 1978.
Walker composed the songs for the album slowly over the eleven years soon after the release of 1995's Tilt beginning with "Cue", the longest song to complete, up until the album's recording. An early version of "Buzzers" was premièred at the Meltdown festival on 17 June 2000 under the title "Thimble Rigging". The album was recorded over a period of 17 months at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London, with orchestra recorded in one day at George Martin's AIR Studios in Hampstead, London. Receiving good reviews from critics, the album was released as an LP and CD in May 2006. The artwork for the album was designed by Vaughan Oliver at v23 with assistance from Chris Bigg and photography by Marc Atkins.
Walker's first album composed entirely of new material since 1995's Tilt, The Drift forms the second instalment of the "trilogy" that concluded with 2012's Bish Bosch. In the years between Tilt and The Drift, Walker's released output comprised a few instrumental tracks on the soundtrack to the film Pola X,a cover of Bob Dylan's "I Threw It All Away" on the To Have and to Hold soundtrack and "Only Myself To Blame" from The World Is Not Enough soundtrack, as well as a few compilations of previously released material, including the retrospective box set5 Easy Pieces.
The Drift has been cited by many critics and fans alike as a disturbing and complex album that departs from Scott Walker's previous albums while still remaining true to his experimental roots. French singer Vanessa Contenay-Quinones appears as the voice of Clara Petacci on "Clara".
The sound and subject matter for the album is unrelentingly dark and unsettling, often juxtaposing quiet sections with sudden loud noise to induce discomfort in the listener. Subjects include torture, disease, 9/11, Elvis Presley (and his stillborn twin brother Jesse Garon, respectively) and Srebrenica.
The Drift received positive reviews by the majority of critics.
Mikael Åkerfeldt wanted his band Opeth to have their album Watershed be a heavy metal version of this album but "it proved to be impossible simply because his [Scott's] head is sicker than mine and I also love melodies and dynamics. There are however many parts on there directly inspired by Scott."