Album: David Lynch, Crazy Clown Time (Sunday Best)

3.00

 

David Lynch is the premier outsider renaissance man of his era, his undoubted artistic facility, whether working in film, television, printmaking or now music, always tempered by the realisation that he'll never achieve – nor would he probably want – mainstream success.

He's clearly happiest working at the margins, which offer the greatest freedom to realise the stream of ideas uncorked by his use of meditation techniques. It's an old truth, but the less commercial gain is likely to be involved, the less restrictions an artist is likely to face.

Which makes the rather quotidian nature of Lynch's musical endeavours on Crazy Clown Time slightly puzzling. Given his professed profusion of ideas, and the absence of commercial restraints, is this collection of slow, sombre pulses, skeletal twang guitars and treated vocal tracks really the most pressing product of his imagination? It's not a bad album as such, but to anyone familiar with Lynch's other work, it's entirely predictable in sound and style, from the vaguely foreboding tone to the retro-teen-dream flavour of the whammy-bar guitar, and the melancholy synth or organ pads looming over several songs. In its favour, it sustains a strong sense of character throughout: with its imagery of empty streets, moonlight, riverbank, loneliness and obsession ("I guess you might say I was sorta stalking you, baby"), a track like "Speed Roadster" inhabits classic Lynch territory, but as with much of the album, its fatalistic trudge-pulse ultimately kind of seeps into one's soul.

Likewise, the haunted, throbbing mystery of "Movin' On" ably evokes the discomfiture of creeping personal dysfunction: "I see myself, and I don't recognise a thing". The mood throughout is heightened by the use of vocal effects, which serve as a veil between the listener and the true character of these protagonists. Many of the lyrics are whispered, like shared intimacies or shaming secrets. Even when minimally treated, there's something otherworldly about Lynch's delivery: he's always had a voice somewhat like a cartoon character, and he uses it effectively here to evoke menacing, childlike dream-states in songs such as "She Rise Up" and "Stone's Gone Up".

Lynch's voice sounds like a mouthful of ashes in "Football Game", where over big, reverberant guitar chords wreathed in doom, he recounts his quiet anger at seeing his girl with another man: "You better run, baby/I hope you can". Elsewhere, his torrential monotone recitation about cosmic awareness and tooth decay in "Strange and Unproductive Thinking" sounds uncomfortably like HAL from 2001 becoming self-aware, though not in a good way: "Sometimes in the evening a feeling of the type which haunts young children in the forest will come in on a dark wind and all the night will fade leaving a low sound penetrating the eyes which follow the dark shapes running for safe nest just out of reach of small white teeth and noses filled with dirt...", etc, in a spiralling stream-of-consciousness that wraps itself around you like tendrils of some malevolent plant.

But while there's no denying the sustained ambience and character Lynch has devised for Crazy Clown Time, it's not the musically interesting endeavour one might have hoped for, and the journey never really takes you somewhere you're not already familiar with.

DOWNLOAD THIS: Movin' On; Good Day Today; Speed Roadster

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all