A perplexing blend of warped electronica, avant-garde pop and gothic Americana, David Lynch’s 2011 music debut Crazy Clown Time might have been just as mind-bending as his last big-screen outing, Inland Empire. But continuing his late-in-the-day recording career, his second album, The Big Dream, has much more in common with the soundtracks of his cinematic works.
Closer “Are You Sure” is the kind of ethereal torch song that Julee Cruise would have recorded for Twin Peaks, while the eerie dream-pop of “Cold Wind Blowin’” and the hazy trip-hop of the title track also take their cue from the Laura Palmer murder-mystery series. Elsewhere, the noirish rock ‘n’ roll of “Say It” would no doubt have been a favourite of David Lynch’s most heinous creation, Blue Velvet’s Frank Booth.
There’s also a neat symmetry to the fact that the cult auteur appears to have been inspired by some of the bands who in turn were inspired by him. The stinging basslines and nocturnal beats of “I Want You” recalls the moody intensity of Massive Attack’s “Angel,” while there are also flashes of Portishead’s seminal debut with the ghostly wails and flickering guitars of “Last Call.”
The Big Dream is therefore a more cohesive and less schizophrenic affair than its predecessor, but ultimately it’s still very weird. Indeed, not only does Lynch bury his grizzled bluesy tones under layers of reverb and creepy filtered effects, but he also adopts the guise of various unsavoury characters, from a femme fatale on the crunching rockabilly of “Star Dream Girl” to a murderous farmer on an unhinged cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Ballad Of Hollis Brown.”
David Lynch’s rambling man act occasionally becomes tiresome, particularly on the aimless Wild West electronica of “We Rolled Together” and the slurring surf-rock of “Sun Can’t Be Seen No More.” But overall, and unlike the director’s first moonlighting effort, The Big Dream possesses that hypnotic quality known as ‘Lynchian’ in spades.