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Crazy Clown Time by David Lynch

Play It Again Sam

By Brian Baker · November 30th, 2011 · Short Takes
In his films, paintings, photographs and drawings, David Lynch is an unrepentant surrealist, a fascinating and compelling storyteller who explores both the horrors and banalities that exist on the fringes of culture. As a result, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the self-taught “non-musician” brings a similar vision to his first album of music, Crazy Clown Time, a set of songs fashioned from jams into discernible structures which then suggested lyrics as only Lynch can imagine.

Although Lynch has described Crazy Clown Time as a Blues album, that description triggers the same qualifiers necessary as when he presents his films as mysteries.

There might be a bluesy pacing and solemnity to the album, but the Ambient sonic textures and disorienting song constructions seem more like a high-stakes poker game between T Bone Burnett and Brian Eno, using a marked edition of the latter’s Oblique Strategies deck. 

Crazy Clown Time opens with the menacing throb of “Pinky’s Dream,” a hallucinogenic reverb tribal chant featuring Yeah Yeah Yeahs vocalist Karen O, which gives way to the Kraftwerk pulse of “Good Day Today,” the 21st-century Blues dirge of “So Glad” and the dark Eno/John Cale meditation of “Noah’s Ark.” True to form, Lynch experiments within the context of his experimentation, from the Tom Waits-channels-Kraftwerk Techno boho stream-of-consciousness Rap of “Strange and Unproductive Thinking” to the Primus-sings-the-lysergic-Blues of the title track. 

Like Lynch’s entire body of work, Crazy Clown Time refracts expectations through a cracked and flawed prism to create a weirdly perfect outcome that can only be measured against itself. Grade: B



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