Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Listening Party

Sparklehorse/Danger Mouse: Dark Night of the Soul

Sparklehorse/Danger Mouse: Dark Night of the Soul

Release Date:2009

By Michael Byrne | Posted 5/27/2009

This doesn't sound like something quite real: Sparklehorse, Danger Mouse, and David Lynch in collaboration on a record/picture book. It's more a dream team that a gathering of culture nerds might come up with huddled around a bar. The master producer, the shaggy folk-pop underdog, the overlord of hallways and shadows working mysteriously on something that also includes the likes of James Mercer, Julian Casablancas, Nina Persson (the demi-goddess behind the Cardigans), Frank Black, Vic Chesnutt, Wayne Coyne, and--hey, why not--Iggy Pop.

Selling right now is a picture book by Lynch, accompanied by a blank CD-R with the note "For legal reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will," which apparently has something to do with a legal dispute between Danger Mouse and EMI. No matter: The music is available, legally, from NPR's web site, at least for the time being, and almost certainly elsewhere after that (maybe not legally).

The picture book is supposed to be an accompaniment for the music, and given the title and that it's David Lynch, you're expecting something even darker than Dark Night of the Soul. It's even brighter than we'd expect from a solo Mark Linkous, a downcast (put lightly) musician who seems under constant threat of being sucked into his own soul. Indeed, much of this record shimmers. Example: the Gruff "Super Furry Animals" Rhys-fronted "Just War," a massively orchestrated piece of throwback sunshine-pop about, well, war, or the giddily surf-riffing "Little Girl," featuring Casablancas. Then the album drops off into "Pain," in which Iggy Pop lyrically flagellates himself over busted shredding and undead keyboard chimes. The real gems are the David Lynch numbers--as creepy as you could possibly hope--and the Nina Persson collaboration, a track that sounds like the floor-stain-gazing Sparklehorse of 13 years ago polished to gorgeous perfection. "I woke up and all my yesterdays were gone," she sings with Linkous. Hardly.

E-mail Michael Byrne

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter