Saturday, May 16, 2009

Record of the Moment: Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse - Dark Night of the Soul

So this is my record of the moment.  Outside of the stories that surround this album, i.e. Danger Mouse can't release this record without getting his butt sued by EMI, and just as the record itself, I consider this a fine release.  Now, I'm in no way familiar with previous Danger Mouse or previous Sparklehorse or even previous David Lynch, who served as a supervisor or something like it.  So you're actually going to get a (gasp) pre-disposition free assessment, which for all intents and purposes is a pretty good record in my eyes.

This record largely consists of Sparklehorse and a whole boatload of guests, ranging from the Flaming Lips, Frank Black of the Pixies, James Mercer of the Shins, to Iggy Pop and even David Lynch makes some appearances on the record.  Most of the songs are sort of languid, as in that they don't really hurry to get where they are going, which establishes a sort of melancholy vibe (combined with the theme, of course).  The tracks that break from this trend, aside from the track that features Julian Casablancas (from the Strokes) are somehow the weakest ones, though perhaps deviating from the trend of the record only naturally perpetuated that.  It can also be said that those two tracks (with Frank Black and the other with Iggy Pop) try to be edgier and generally more metal, which doesn't fit the vibe of the record.  Perhaps my dislike for these tracks is a mere indication of my dislike for the metal genre, but that can't be helped in any particular way.

However, every other track does a swell job of fulfilling the vibe of the record.  The Flaming Lips track is delightfully haunting, as Wayne Coyne croons about how pain might as well just be some sort of sensation, and James Mercer of the Shins makes a fine appearance on "Insane Lullaby."  The best track, in all likelihood, is "Daddy's Gone," which features Nina Persson and Mark Linkous.  It's the simplest track on the record, which allows the song to simply breathe on its own, rather than try and layer effects.  The track is almost more haunting and more fulfilling because of its stark simplicity (though I mean this in a Danger Mouse producing sense, not in a strict instrumentation sense).

Overall, I really like this record.  For the sake of listening to the album as an album, I put up with the two psuedo-random metallish tracks in the middle because the payoff before and after is more than worth that price of admission.  Also, for the sake of Danger Mouse not getting his butt sued by EMI, it's worth at least listening to.  Did he ever want anything besides people listening to his works?  I would hazard to say that he has no real other intentions.

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