Though first and foremost a brilliant filmmaker, David Lynch is perhaps more accurately an artist, and one whose instantly recognizable aesthetic — marked by a surreal blend of the macabre and mundane — extends to every medium he touches. His slowly growing body of experimental music is no exception. On his second full-length album, The Big Dream, Lynch dips into territory that longtime fans will find familiar — soul-wrenching blues, distorted mournful vocals, and eerie atmospheric soundscapes. It’s quite a beautiful album — one that evokes lonely nighttime walks through city streets, creating an uneasy euphoria. On the intoxicating title track, Lynch croons and purrs in a style reminiscent of Nina Simone, layered over heavy snare and a delayed, multi-tracked electric guitar. The lovely “Cold Wind Blowin'” feels like a sad nightclub tune ripped straight from Twin Peaks. Both prove to be among the album’s strongest tracks.
Lynch explores a decent amount of variety within his distinct style: There’s the distorted bluesy stomp-fest “Star Dream Girl”; the trip-hop influenced “Last Call”; a haunting, reverb-and-noise-filled cover of Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of Hollis Brown”; the deep-house number “Wishin’ Well”; the straight-up rock ‘n’ roll of “Say It”; and the ethereal love-song closer “Are You Sure.”
While not the most accessible of artists, Lynch has created an interesting and wholly enjoyable album that could be appreciated even by those who aren’t necessarily his fans. (Sacred Bones)