Black Lodge Americana

    Despite having reached out into so many different art forms, David Lynch has kept his style remarkably consistent. His brand of nightmare surrealism is just as evident in classic films like “Mulholland Drive” as it is in his “Dumbland” flash animations or his vocal work on the Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse collaboration “Dark Night of the Soul.” And the auteur’s latest musical experiment, Crazy Clown Time, is no exception.

    Though best known for his work as a director, Lynch is no stranger to recorded sound, working closely with composer Angelo Badalamenti to score most of his films. And like many of Badalamenti’s scores, Crazy Clown Time is synth-heavy and stripped down, leaving stark, reverberating drum beats and sparse synth string flourishes to comprise the bulk of the album’s sound.

    Lynch — his voice disguised by an array of eerie filters — half-sings, half-reads his grave, unsettling poems, which mostly take the form of surreal short stories. There’s a distressed driver going too fast in opener “Pinky’s Dream,” a nightmarish backyard party in the title track — but the lyrics are vague and often without context (“I’m gonna make that call,” “I’ve got a truck and a single bed / Got a stone and a table painted red”).

    Lynch doesn’t rush these songs either, with only one track under four minutes and the album as a whole clocking in at over an hour long.

    But the tracks are lacking without the visuals. And even though Crazy Clown Time is filled with shadowy promise, it’s difficult not to wish Lynch would aim his focus back toward cinema where he’s been so desperately missed.

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