David Lynch - The Big Dream

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2013-07-15

David Lynch hasn't made a feature film since 2006 hallucinogenic masterpiece Inland Empire, preferring to explore his musical side. Things seemed to start with his appearance on 2010 Dangermouse/Sparklehorse album Dark Night of the Soul, where Lynch's haunted vocals appeared on two songs. Obviously encouraged by the success of the project, Lynch returned to music with his first full-length debut album in 2011, the brooding Crazy Clown Time.

Of course, music has always been an integral part of what Lynch does. From the unforgettable 'In Heaven' song on Eraserhead (famously covered by Pixies), the unsettling use of Roy Orbison's 'In Dreams' in Blue Velvet, and the use of industrial bands like Rammstein and NIN's on Lost Highway. That's all before I mention the incredible work Lynch has done with Angelo Badalamenti over the years; scoring nearly everything Lynch has done with suitably strange, beautiful and sinister compositions.

The seeds of Lynch's solo work, in particular that dreamy guitar sound, lie in the soundtrack toTwin Peaks feature film, Fire Walk with Me. In a scene where doomed heroine Laura Palmer and her friend go to a particularly sleazy after-hours bar, there's a song playing called 'The Pink Room'. A Lynch-written piece, the song's sultry strut, alive with sex, danger and mystery, predicts the sound Lynch would present in full on Crazy Clown Time. It's a sound he's adapted and developed for The Big Dream.

Where Crazy Clown Time revelled in a sense of tense claustrophobia there's something more confident, more liberating about The Big Dream. Lynch's echoing guitar and lyrical themes of love, dreams and mystery are all present and correct but there's a rumbling blues undercurrent to the album. This is the kind of music you could imagine James Hurley, Twin Peaks' leather-clad lovesick rebel, listening to.

If The Big Dream is a blues album than it's certainly a strange one. There's a dream-like Portishead influence in the album's overall sound and echoes of the Dark Night of the Soul project. Lynch messes around with vocal effects on the brilliant 'Sun Can't Be Seen No More' and comes across like Butthole Surfers' Gibby Haynes in the process, while 'I Want You' gets saucier than Rihanna could ever hope for. I'd also be surprised if Lynch hasn't been listening to the sorely underrated Johnny Dowd.

One of the album's most breathtakingly beautiful moments comes with closing track, 'I'm Waiting Here'. It's a gentle, early rock 'n' roll ballad, where Lykke Li slips effortlessly into the role that Julee Cruise took on Twin Peaks. It's absolutely gorgeous.

It would almost be unfair to judge David Lynch's music next to his film work. In cinema, Lynch is an acknowledged genius, originator and auteur. Mulholland Drive is probably my favourite film of all time. The imprint Lynch has left on cinema is almost indescribable, but just think of how many things are described as Lynch-ian.

Now, Lynch's musical output won't necessarily leave the same mind-blowing, life-altering impression but it's still incredibly good. The Big Dream fits perfectly into Lynch's unique vision and transports you back into his world with predictable style and grace.

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