Well, it’s safe to say, David Lynch’s new album The Big Dream is definitely what I expected it to be. It’s just like one of his films – bizarre, disorderly and captivating in all the wrong ways.
After initially hearing Lynch’s first studio album Crazy Clown Time, released in 2011, I was left with a pounding headache and a feeling of confusion. Though, Lynch has never called himself a musician – he is first and foremost a legendary filmmaker, and his music is simply a stopgap between scripts. For Crazy Clown Time, this was a welcome realisation. However, The Big Dream is instantaneously more grown-up, less hectic and a lot easier to listen to. Yet, this doesn’t mean it’s any good.
Opening track Star Dream Girl has a Seasick Steve vibe about it. It’s soulful and evokes an eerie, contemporary take on hillbilly rock. Lynch’s voice is, simply put – odd. Though, it gives listeners an insight into his apparent influences. With a hint of Daniel Johnston about the music (and his voice), a little Sparklehorse about the use of a tranquil, spaced out backing band and a definite suggestion of some of The Flaming Lips’ more modern work, Lynch primarily seemed to have gotten it right.
To call the album ‘psychadelic’ or ‘stoner rock’ would be an understatement. The Line it Curves, Say It and Sun Can’t Be Seen No More showcase Lynch’s distorted voice groaning beside synthesizers while faint pianos and guitars echo and curdle in the background. Last Call gives me the creeps, while I Want You gives off the impression that, throughout each track, Lynch is simply channelling the spirits of some of his characters.
Title track The Big Dream follows in the madness, with its piano-generated drum beat enduring the same slow-motion rhythm that we hear in the few songs before. The same can be said for Cold Wind Blowin’ which, though as strange as the rest, is probably the most listenable track on the album. ‘A cold wind blowin’ through my heart, the game’s over’ Lynch moans, while an electric acoustic strums subtly in the background and a simple bass line leads him comfortably through to the end.
By the time we reach the final two tracks, We Rolled Together and Wishin’ Well, the songs become monotonous. Each sound is basically the same as the last, with even the intense peculiarity of Lynch’s voice becoming tedious.
It’s clear that The Big Dream is self-explanatory. It’ a colossal nightmare created in the mind of David Lynch – its melancholy, often disturbing lyrics feel natural coming from such a vivid imagination. Honestly, by the end, I was left feeling drained and a little disheartened. The whole album could easily become a soundtrack to one of Lynch’s films, but sadly in my opinion, nothing more.