Album Review — 11 November 2011

By Liz Belilovskaya

David Lynch has strange taste in movies, but his music may be even stranger. It turns out that his debut album Crazy Clown Time falls in line with the eerie motif of his films. It is dark, narrative speckled, post-modern weirdness and eccentricity in noted form. Although Lynch has been composing scores for his movies for some time now, this is his first official music record. While it may be impressive for a film maker, for a musician, his album does little for audiences not-yet drunk with awe on his acclaimed cinematography.

The album kicks off with “Pinky’s Dream” featuring vocals from Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs fame. The mood is detached, the tone is abstract and the lyrics are heavy, a style that runs throughout the album. The sonic playfulness characteristic of Karens vocal style is mellow and coo-like making it a nice contrast to the post-modern, devious music accompanying it. The lyrics get kind of creepy as O croons, “Please Pinky watch the road. Pinky what do you see flying down the road? Pinky tell me are you laughing or crying?”

“Good Day Today” is another beast of a composition. “So tired of fire, so tired of smoke” leads us into it. The track is deeply techno driven and not in that positive neon-club type of way. Lynch’s somewhat famous voice makes its first appearance here.  The music is less emotionally appealing than “Pinky,” but the lingering elements of suggestive danger are traceable in both. “So Glad” also contains steady beats, but they are less club worthy and more bluesy with words like “I’m so glad you’re gone. Free in my house, free in my truck.”

Next in line is “Noah’s Ark”. The music is pulsating and suspenseful as Lynch begins in a whisper, “I know a song, know a song,,, to sing on this dark night,,,it’s the song about love”. Containing no trace of warm, pink, Cupid-type connotations, the love song is gray at best. “Football Game” is verdant, steady and calm. Unlike his earlier techno type tracks, guitar and cymbals are clearly present. His voice is nasally and his speech is mumbled.

“I Know” has fluffier music than earlier tracks. More is going on with organ style piano, a howling backdrop, creepy tones and distant disposition. It’s Lynchian with vocals adding “I know. I know the bird. She stopped to sing since I went and hit that thing, I know”. More weirdness follows with “Strange and Unproductive Thinking”. In an electronically manipulated voice, over music that sounds like freestyle Jazz poetry, Lynch philosophically rants about things he believes cause strange and unproductive thinking.

OK.

The instrumental track “The Night Bell With Lightning” is pleasant, slow, and bluesy. A vibrating guitar calls to mind thoughts of a lazy summer day with the Beach Boys on acid. “Stone’s Gone Up” features the fastest tempo yet with a distinctly 80′s imprint. Lynch’s twangy voice emerges midway through the track reminiscing about a girl meanwhile driving. The title track “Crazy Clown Time” is super eerie, confusing and dissonant. The vocals are done in high pitch while girly moans occupy the background.

“These Are My Friends” is about Lynch, his friends and the furniture they have in their rooms. The track contains more guitars than other songs and sounds a tad familiar to nothing specific. “Speed Roadster” is electric-guitar friendly with lyrics suggesting him being a stalker of a girl whom he is repeatedly calling. “Moving On” starts off slowly, distant vibes and minimalist composition with a muffled and altered voice over it works together to produce a creepy effect.

“She Rise Up” is the last track on the record. It’s dark and is accompanied by synthetic vocals again. Lynch voices “she takes nothing from him only gives, she came with him, he was all she had for a while but she rises up”. The music has interludes if sinister beats over pounding metal brushes on a drum set resembling crashing sounds. “Lightning strikes hard – it’s me” he continues.

It’s difficult to describe Lynch’s style, it can range anywhere between original but minimally-elaborate, western blues/ techno music infused with scattered elements of wacked out philosophy over exotically poetic verses on life subjects – to some awesomely-freakish weird shit. Regardless of what description strikes a chord, this is not a regular record as is to be expected from a non regular artist.

black-thumbs-up black-thumbs-upblack-thumbs-upout of 5

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