The Big Dream
Sunday Best/Sacred Bones
Jul 24, 2013 Web Exclusive
The 18 months or so since the release of his pop debut, Crazy Clown Time, have apparently not been kind to surrealist indie god David Lynch. That album was a dark and often disorienting affair, the terrifying gloom punctuated regularly with caffeinated hyperactivity, shards of blue-white light that left the listener unsure whether or not they actually liked it even after repeat listens. The Big Dream, on the other hand, eschews this kind of eclecticism in favour of further submersion into Lynch's most unpleasant nightmares.
Strangely, this album, rather than its predecessor, may be the one that those unfamiliar with his previous musical exploits may have expected. To haphazardly oversimplify them, the likes of Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, and Inland Empire dealt with the basest, most inhumane elements of the everyday, their characters caricatures of what Lynch perceived as the reprehensible human psyche. It's to their author's credit that such horror is recaptured in the atmosphere of The Big Dream.
Unsurprisingly, though, this does not make for a particularly enjoyable record. Whereas Crazy Clown Time was electrifying and bluesy—at times brilliantly so, such as on the Karen O-fronted "Pinky's Dream"—this is an unrelentingly difficult record, with all semblances of pop music and even melody eschewed for a Hound of the Baskervilles trudge through a gothic swamp. Listening to the majority of the tracks—although the sound is best exemplified by the title track or the plodding "We Rolled Together"—is seriously hard work for little reward.
Lynch's creative mind being what it is, though, naturally there are moments that transcend the murk. The cover of Bob Dylan's "The Ballad of Hollis Brown," for example, amplifies the menace of the original, while its predecessor "Cold Wind Blowin'" is genuinely dreamy and reminiscent of Lynch's work with Angelo Badalamenti—someone who is much missed here. (www.davidlynch.com)
Author rating: 6/10
Average reader rating: 8/10