What’s certain when listening to The Big Dream is that there’s no way of separating “David Lynch The Musician” with “David Lynch The Director”, and with his sophomore release, Lynch dives straight back into that dreamy soundscape of spooky noir call-backs that defies genre and sequence.
We learned from his 2011 debut Crazy Clown Time that Lynch is by no means a distinguished singer, his southern drawl is limited and alongside the angelic tones of Swedish singer Lykke Li’s efforts on bonus track ‘I’m Waiting Here’, one wonders why Lynch doesn’t just get guest vocalists on all his tracks.
Then again, the LP just wouldn’t have the same sort of flair and reconnaissance if he weren’t the star, and that’s just what The Big Dream is, it’s completely and unconditionally David Lynch’s album.
From the skippy first beats of the title track you’re instantly transported into the eerie dream-like forest of the director’s mind, stepping past blue velvet and Laura Palmer’s plastic wrap to arrive at a cold wistful fantasy town.
Similar to his debut, Lynch excels at understanding structures of lyricism and mood, and jamming alongside his long time collaborator and producer Dean Hurley, the duo turn simple 12-bar-blues structures into his version of modern blues soundscapes.
A more nuanced and certainly more refined effort, tracks like ‘Cold Wind Blowin’ and ‘Are You Sure’ compose very straightforward emotional responses of ache and loneliness, but as per every Lynch effort, dives into a surreal pool of weird with rockabilly inspired ‘Star Dream Girl’ and genre bending talker ‘Say It’.
Like Karen O before her, Lykke Li’s cameo appearance on the bonus track ‘I’m Waiting Here’ is a showstopper, the Swedish singer falls perfectly into the burnt Americana dynamic with a hypnotic serenity to her voice that makes for an angelic ending to a powerful album.
It’s rare for one single track to have such an overarching impact on an entire album, but Li’s simple addition at the close of the record is so overwhelmingly beautiful that it easily pushes aside some of the strange inconsistencies found throughout the album. The single almost perfectly cements the entire album as one big fantasy trip down Lynch’s memory lane.
Like Lynch’s 2011 debut, The Big Dream will certainly not appeal to everyone, with Lynch particularly focussing the album towards his current fans, not any new market. The same sounds, the same emotions, and the same structures are evoked as with his directorial efforts with a dark and at times heartbreaking cloud of emotions breezing through the record.