The best “thriller” films set an ominous mood and maintain it until the big finish – that way the action has the maximum emotional impact when it finally arrives. David Lynch, best known as the director of the quirky/bizarre TV noir “Twin Peaks” and the famously creepy films “Blue Velvet” and “Eraserhead”, is a master at setting that mood in any medium, and his new record, Crazy Clown Time, is no exception.
Although this is his debut album, Lynch is no stranger to the world of music. He composed the scores to many of his movies, and the results have been impressive: dark, atmospheric stories that fill the listener with the creeping dread of something being awfully wrong. Although Lynch perfectly establishes this mood in Crazy Clown Time, he is unable to sustain it. With the opening track, “Pinky’s Dream”, the stage is set for a bizarro-world thrill ride, narrated by a whispering, moaning and shrieking Karen O (of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs), but the tracks that follow begin to blend into each other, to the point that there are no shocks, and everything is expected. Some tracks, such as the semi-transcendental “Strange and Unproductive Thinking”, are so un-shocking that they’re practically boring.
The thought crossed my mind, as I was listening to the album, that maybe I was just missing something; Was I not listening to the album in the way that Lynch intended? Should I have listened to the album in a dark room, appreciating (and being frightened by) the lyrical arc of the album, with no distraction? And then I realized that even if I prepared perfectly for my musical experience – a musical version of a “thriller” film – it would still be flawed; ominous at the beginning, but dull by the end.
– Beth C-C, host of One Nation Under Prog, which airs Wednesdays at noon EST on WGTB