Some thoughts on the first listen of the new David Lynch joint:
--Kind of a rough start - I was beginning to fear that the best track off the disc would be the Bob Dylan "cover". There's a slow, almost minimalist spin to the lyrics, where a tense situation grows moreso through the repetition of certain details, as Lynch's guitars (including an acoustic) and a deep, nearly subliminal synth percolate threateningly in the background. But it doesn't peak there.
--The start is admittedly uneven - the 2am invocation of "last call" doesn't really land. Lynch's music has advanced and grown intriguingly more complex, but in at least the first half his approach to the lyrics wasn't working. (More than once I consider what this would have been like as a series of instrumental sketches.) It sounds more like an album of songs than CRAZY CLOWN TIME did (whether or not CCT was such an album was never really an issue). Nice variations on his mutant blues surface later in the album, and "We Rolled Together" is pretty damn fine, despite its uncanny resemblance to The Police's "Invisible Sun".
--Holy crap, the synth washes in "the line it curves" are absolutely fucking beautiful.
--The album's a kind of transition for Lynch - it's not as consistent as CRAZY CLOWN TIME, nor quite as unsettling (though I'm not sure it really tries for the latter). There are some moments in THE BIG DREAM that transcend the previous album, though I think the next album is where shit's really going to come together.
--In the end, the process of his music doesn't seem the same as that of his films; each movie is its own complete entity, but I think music is a more amorphous entity for Lynch, a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself. The albums feel more like sketchbooks than complete, unified works, and I'm pretty sure that he sees his albums and his movies in completely different terms. The albums feel like steps in an ongoing process, and though THE BIG DREAM doesn't feel like a self-contained success, its high points show Lynch fully engaged with that process. The road, the tracks, the train all figure prominently here, and Lynch is riding to the end. And even (especially!) if he can't see the final destination, the ride's well worth taking.