Review Summary: Bizarre and familiar.
A collaboration made in heaven for some, Thought Gang is the side-project for two of Cinema’s most enigmatic icons. With how David Lynch typically plays things, it probably comes as no surprise that Thought Gang
has been sat on a dusty shelf for the better part of two and a half decades – which, bar the two tracks that featured on Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (“The Black Dog Runs At Night” and “A Real Indication”) and three others for the series’ revival in 2017, have only now seen the light of day. Understandably, at a fleeting glance, many would assume it’s a load of cutting room floor leftovers from the Twin Peaks feature – given that it was being made during the Twin Peaks movie’s development – but the fact of the matter is that it was a bit of fun on the side; an esoteric labour of love formed by its two contributors, and a project that got nibbled away at during the course of 1992 and 1993. Why it has taken until now to see the light of day remains to be seen, but here it is. And for the Lynch/Badalamenti enthusiast, you’re going to be in for a somewhat predictable ride if you approach this expecting to hear the dynamic duo’s general style of writing from 25 years ago. Because, at the end of the day, that’s what this is. It’s the brooding acid-jazz archetype that melted the unsuspecting faces of its TV show’s adulators when the much darker in tone film initially released.
So, with that in mind, it’s not only the type of style I think works harmoniously well within Twin Peaks’ universe, but it also happens to be the most alluring sound either of these two have devised. The walking bassline found on “One Bark Dog”, with its peppery beat, snare pops and finger clicks, welcomes the duo’s signature traits with open arms. It’s the characteristics of this era that make it so enticing: the demonic bellowing of the double bass (“Frank 2000 Prelude”), the tortured horn sections (“Logic and Common Sense”) and the seductive grooves (“A Real Indicator”) make tracks a crash course in 90s Lynch/Badalamenti songwriting. However, it’s but a small portion of this record’s real intentions and is definitely not to say Thought Gang
is without its surprises. On the contrary, this record takes its attributes and paints an even less user-friendly experience. The likes of which pertain to the haunted spoken word scream and groan manipulations of “Jack Paints It Red”; the lifelessly disturbed dialogue that furnishes “A Meaningless Conversation” and “Woodcutters from Fiery Ships”; or the ambient peregrinations of “Frank 2000” and the partnered “Stalin Revisited” and “Summer Night Noise” tracks that go to town on your mental well-being. But honestly, what do you expect from Lynch at this point？ It’s a great album that – like his filmography – takes your patience to the limits. Obviously, it’s an LP you’ll have to be in the mood for, but if you like the darker shades of Angelo Badalamenti’s sonic visions this’ll be right up your street.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A
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