Music Reviews
The Big Dream

David Lynch The Big Dream

(Sacred Bones) Rating - 7/10

I don’t think anything David Lynch creates, whether it’s feature films, paintings, or his music, can quite escape the confines of his own imagination. Crazy Clown Time was sure an indication of that, sounding more like a loose translation of a fuller artistic visualization residing within the dark corners of Lynch’s subconscious, than a completely realized musical effort.  As if recalling a dream, every note channeled came out lopsided and warped, every word hauntingly vague, and the sentiment of each passing song even more confounding than the last. With that said, The Big Dream isn’t really a blues album as Lynch and Sacred Bones assert, but rather a mere imprint of one. 

Sure, Lynch’s thoughts on The Big Dream seem much more concrete and focused than those found on the perpetual nightmare cycled on Crazy Clown Time, but it’s pretty removed from any traditional state of coherence. Minimalist lines like “I went down to the ice cream store / When I got home / That ice cream was gone” read more like a bizarre entry in Lynch’s The Angriest Dog In The World comic strips, than some sort of understated lyrical prose. Or better yet,“Night on the street / It's a silver moon / Going out real late / And out of the darkness they come / Like last night, only more” sounds a lot like a surreal set up ripped directly from one of Lynch’s Twin Peaks scripts.

I guess that’s sort of an unfair measure of comparison, but connections to Lynch’s filmic oeuvre are bound to be made by many -- and with good reason too. From the echoey thwomp of The Big Dream’s first chord, you’re tossed into Lynch’s desolate, dusty vision of Americana that’s just as cinematic in spirit as it is musical in aim. The way guitar tones shift and squirm, distort and deform against an over-bloated groove are instantly recognizable as something only accurately described as ‘Lynch-ian’ in style and method. I’m sorry, but hearing the thudding rhythm and crashing chords of deep-cuts Wishing Well, Say It, and We Rolled Together instantly brings to mind the barren visuals and aural crowdedness of Lost Highway. Even Bob Dylan’s The Ballad Of Hollis Brown is mutated from its natural twangy folk to a pulsating dirge retrofitted for black & white cinemascope. But don’t mistake, that certainly shouldn’t be interpreted as an endorsement for Lynch’s cover of a Dylan classic. It’s sort of the one major disappointment on the entire album, and only comes off as a desperate attempt to establish the record as a real deal, roots-y blues effort, of which it is certainly not.

However, what doesn’t disappoint is Lynch’s collaboration with Lykke Li on the sublime I’m Waiting Here, which almost sends the album off in a fittingly dream-pop direction. But even with the balancing addition of Li’s guest vocal spot, The Big Dream doesn’t come off as much like an album as it does a place. It’s more of an unconscious escape hatch that Lynch has constructed with intangible aural elements -- a fantasy place that he allows us to walk around in for a while until we are forced back into the realm of the painfully awake.