Album Reviews

Thomas Truax – Songs From The Films Of David Lynch

(SL) UK release date: 4 May 2009

Seemingly, the inspiration for this album of cover versions of songs usedin David Lynch films came from someone telling Truax that his music would be”the perfect soundtrack” for a Lynch movie. With live sets featuring abizarre set of self-constructed hybrid instruments with names like TheHornicator, Backbeater, Spinderella and Mother Superior, you can seethe logic. On record, though, without being able to admire these fine HeathRobinson contraptions, will the fit be quite so neat?

Lynch selects music for his films from quite a wide and diverse range ofartists and styles, so the first thing that is apparent is – by the veryfact of them all being covered by one person – the homogeneity that Truaxbrings to them. His deep singing voice alternates between a kind ofgravelly Tom Waits-style growl, as used on Wicked Game and I Put A Spell OnYou; and more frequently the lounge-lizard croon found on Blue Velvet, I’mDeranged, In Heaven (Lady In The Radiator Song) and In Dreams. There isalso a strong 1950s feel to the album as a whole, with the aforementionedcrooning, the rockabilly edge to Baby Please Don’t Go and also with BlueVelvet’s “doo-wop” rhythm.

Some tracks are quite straightforward, and – in the case of Twin Peaks(Falling) and I Put A Spell On You – surprisingly jaunty, but moreoften have a slightly unsettling or disturbing edge (again, as one wouldexpect from Lynch too). In particular Baby Please Don’t Go, where the vocalgoes so deep that it mutates into an evil-sounding whispered invocation inplaces; and Black Tambourine, as much for the dark lyrical content (singingof a “black-hearted effigy”) as the weird synthesised rhythmic noises thataccompany it.

Most interesting of all is In Heaven (Lady In The RadiatorSong), where the peculiar clicking, ticking, chirping sound effects are astrange enough backing for the woozy vocal that swoops in and out evenbefore you know that they have been created from recordings of batnoises. There also appears to be a wobble board used at one point.

The slow, downbeat and slightly depressing I’m Deranged and mildly spookyinstrumental Audrey’s Dance, in the middle of the album, drag somewhat, andfeel a little like musical ballast, just there to make up the numbers.Perhaps the main difficulty with the album as a whole, though, is that Truaxseems to have been just a little too reverential – both to Lynch’s choicesand to the original versions themselves – to make for any genuinelyrevelatory covers.

Ironically, it is the absence of the kind of skewed takeon reality that one might call “Lynchian” that prevents the idea trulytaking off. Without the fascinating and bizarre visuals provided by Truax’shomemade musical instruments, the concept doesn’t succeed quite as well inits execution as might have been expected from its promise on paper.

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Thomas Truax – Jetstream Sunset
Thomas Truax – Songs From The Films Of David Lynch