There might be a lot of buzz right now about Dark Night of the Soul, the just-released brainchild of Dangermouse and Sparklehorse. However, the album “accidentally” leaked last year, and there was a lot of hoopla over copyright infringement, resulting in a sale of David Lynch’s accompanying photography book that came with a blank CD-R instead of the real thing. So, while paying $50 for a blank CD would have made me hopping mad, in this day and age of downloading the newest things we can get our hands on, I realized that I not only knew but had worn out most of these songs already.
The album features many guest appearances, including The Flaming Lips, Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle, the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, Frank Black, Iggy Pop, the Shins’ James Mercer, Suzanne Vega, the late Vic Chestnut, Nina Persson, and David Lynch. A lot of buzz for this album surrounds the fact that both Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse and Vic Chesnut recently commited suicide, so this album feels special to its fans, somehow.
It might seem that Brian Burton, aka Dangermouse, has the Midas touch at the moment, but something about this album falls a little flat. With so many guest spots, the album feels less cohesive and more like a mix tape. Frank Black and Iggy Pop sound downright bored at times, which might be the norm for most indie artists, but I expect more from these guys.
Surprisingly, the gems of the album include “Little Girl” featuring Julian Casablancas of the Strokes, with Facebook status-worthy lyrics like “The world’s always amazed at how much cash you made, but not at how you made it, it’s just strange,” and “Daddy’s Gone”, an electro alt-country jam featuring Nina Persson from The Cardigans (whatever happened to them, anyway?!), which is as delightful as it is strange. Another interesting one is “The Man Who Played God” featuring Suzanne Vega. Her voice is appropriately haunting and warrants more than just one play.
Overall, Dark Night of the Soul serves as a bittersweet goodbye to two artists we have known and loved for years, but I only wish it had more heart and soul and felt less like a who’s who.