Release Date: Nov 8, 2011
Record label: Sunday Best
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Behind the camera, David Lynch trades in bad vibes and paper-dry humor. His numbing first solo album, co-written with producer Dean Hurley, leisurely indulges the former with none of the latter unless you count the ocassional use of Vocoder. Which actually serves another purpose: To lend Lynch's awful voice -- which ranges from bizarre falsetto ("Crazy Clown Time") to backwoods-accented croak ("So Glad"), with one zonked-out, F-bomb-laden monologue thrown in ("Speed Roadster") -- a little texture.
If one thing characterises the work of David Lynch it’s his critique of the 'false-self systems' that pervade our lives. Take Eraserhead, where the bourgeois pretensions of slum-dwellers are almost more grotesque than their physical deformities, and Jack Nance cracks when he watches the mother of his child transformed into a breeding machine. Take The Elephant Man, where the gawking spectators are sped up into squawking homunculi while John Merrick retains the only trace of dignity.
David Lynch isn’t weird enough. At least not here, on his very first album as a solo musician. You’d expect it to be a series of pig squeals, dentist-drill buzzes and shotgun blasts. Something that might measure up to Crispin Glover’s The Big Problem Does Not Equal the Solution, the Solution Equals Let It Be (“McFly?”).
How many artists are there who can truly work across a range of forms? Scarlett Johansson’s Tom Waits covers (I’m not even going to mention Russell Crowe), Leonard Cohen’s poetry, David Bowie’s artworks, Nick Cave’s novels — oh wait, those last are rather good. So how does our Lynchpin (s)tack up? In short, though Crazy Clown Time is an unfortunate title, speaking to the worn cliché of the evil harlequin, in being thus it does the album little justice. The aesthetic Crazy Clown Time inhabits is one similar to Lynch’s film work: a dark yet down-homey Americana (“I went down the football game”), shot through with surrealism and punctuated by loss and violence — a violence verging on the misogynistic, reminiscent of pieces like Jim Thompson’s pulp novel The Killer Inside Me.
Crazy Clown Time may be David Lynch's first solo album, but he’s far from a newcomer to music-making. He worked so closely with Angelo Badalamenti on the soundtracks to his films and television shows that the term “Lynchian” can be applied to music as well as movies, and his work with acts such as Blue Bob, Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, and Danger Mouse as a musician and sound designer underscored that he has clear, and creative, musical ideas of his own. He continues to explore these ideas -- plus a few new ones -- on Crazy Clown Time, handling all the instrumental and vocal duties, with one notable exception: opening track “Pinky’s Dream,” which features the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O.
David Lynch’s Crazy Clown Time is an album that, despite being a first effort, exists in a world that’s just as hermetically sealed as Tom Waits’s Bad As Me, the 17th studio release from an artist whose style has long since congealed. Lynch the musician could credibly exist as a character in one of his own movies, or he could be scoring one of them, presenting dark, syrupy tracks that radiate with a kind of odd menace. In this sense, Crazy Clown Time serves not only as a very strange lark, but the ostensible fusion of a creator with the world he’s created.
If you've ever thought of director David Lynch as being "weird," suspend that thought for a moment. That weirdness-- the visceral, surrealistic imagery and fragmented plots in his movies-- is exactly what we as viewers want from him. You probably like it weird now and then. I do too. It's what ….
The news that David Lynch was trying his hand at dance music, though strange, was made less so by the fact that the film-maker, one of America's great eccentrics, already had sidelines in visual art, coffee and weather reporting. The skies overhead on his debut album are dark and menacing for the most part: this is music to depopulate dancefloors, not fill them ("I'm so glad you're gone," he croaks on one typically slow-moving, blues-heavy number). Early single "Good Day Today" does yearn for a sunnier outlook, but Lynch fans will be pleased to learn that darkness and weirdness prevail.
Upon first sitting down to review David Lynch‘s new album, Crazy Clown Time, the end goal was something akin to the following: “Don’t make too many Twin Peaks references. Don’t just talk about how great Wild at Heart is. Compare nothing to Eraserhead.” But it should have been obvious that a few comparisons to the weirdo-noir filmmaker’s oeuvre would slip in under the fingernails (damn it) and make their way in.
It may be something of a fool's errand attempting to review something by David Lynch. Consider Blue Velvet, now seen as one of the great defining films of the eighties, yet it was met with confusion and outright contempt on release. However, convention insists that we must anyway and that he won't get any special dispensation for being a lunatic genius, so on with discussing his debut album, Crazy Clown Time.
Who would have thought visionary headfuck director David Lynch’s first venture into long-player music would have resulted in 14 cute ‘n’ cuddly pop anthems? Just kidding. If you’ve ever seen one of David Lynch’s nightmarish, nonsensical, unmistakably devastating films, you’ve been ably primed for Crazy Clown Time, the year’s most freakish musical experience (Too bad this couldn’t have been released a week earlier—or perhaps a Halloween-timed release was too obvious…). Lynch’s films are saturated in darkness.
Nothing quite compares to the dark force that is David Lynch. The noir filmmaker is currently in search of new profound visions through music. A few musical projects have worn his stamp in the past. He has worked with Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks), pianist Marek Zebrowski (Inland Empire), and recently collaborated with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse on the album and artwork for Dark Night of the Soul.
The Hollywood blockbuster axis tends to hold true to the notion that an audience's every emotional response ought to be guided to the nth degree. Sound and music is specifically co-ordinated to ensure that every single person watching a film feels exactly the same way at exactly the same time. There's a tyranny to that method ('the Disney approach', perhaps) that mirrors the big build/key change dynamic of most modern pop music, something pushed to grotesque proportions in the phenomenon Daniel Barrow recently identified as 'the Soar'.
A new strand to his unique, ineffable vision. Louis Pattison 2011 David Lynch: cult film director, painter, transcendental meditation guru, aficionado of damn fine coffee… and now, a little confusingly, recording artiste. Sure, Lynch has always shown a willingness to alter his modus operandi when the mood takes him – in 2002, he ended a 20-year love affair with celluloid, declaring his subsequent work would be recorded to digital.