Danger Mouse’s latest project, “Dark Night of the Soul,” just might have the best list of featured artists on any album released this year. Collaborating with Sparklehorse, Dark Mouse gives us an album about loneliness and bad dreams.
Due to disagreements between Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse and record label EMI, the album was originally never going to be officially released. But the dispute has since been resolved and will be available for the world’s listening pleasure July 13.
Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips teams up with the duo for a great start to the album on “Revenge.” It has that classic psychedelic, spacey Flaming Lips feel that gives off sort of an atmospheric sound. The lyrics are sung with a gentle anger.
Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals is featured on the next track, “Just War,” which sounds not like war at all but rather a song with a light tone that could be played while driving through miles of pastures. The song closes out with a sweet noise that sounds like a combination of crickets chirping and someone whistling.
“Jaykub” sounds like another Flaming Lips song. While Wayne Coyne isn’t present on this track, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy and Admiral Radley is. The tempo is slow, the acoustic guitar is tired and a reverberation in the background sounds like something is shining throughout the song.
The well-loved alternative king Julian Casablancas, of the Strokes, provides the vocals for “Little Girl,” a faster paced song. A great guitar solo mixes things up in the middle, and Casablancas sings of his twisted date at the end, “You’re the coolest girl in this whole town / I just wanna parade you around.”
The loudness and anguish with which Black Francis of the Pixies sings nearly creates fear for listeners on the metal-ish track “Angel’s Harp.”
Iggy Pop joins the duo for “Pain.” His deep voice clearly expresses the sorrow about which he sings. American filmmaker David Lynch does the electro-pop “Star Eyes (I Can’t Catch It),” which is basically a three-minute whisper.
Jason Lytle is back for the track “Every Time I’m With You,” a tune about always being trashed with a companion. The substance this song lacks is coincidentally incredible.
James Mercer of The Shins won over the hearts of Americans earlier this year when he teamed up with Danger Mouse to become a well-received, fantastic duo called Broken Bells, and they’re at it again on “Dark Night of the Soul” with the song “Insane Lullaby.” Mercer brings his Shins style into the mix on this track, along with a xylophone and a violin.
Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous, who committed suicide in March, does the vocals on “Daddy’s Gone.” Linkous collaborates on this track with Nina Persson, lead singer of Swedish pop group The Cardigans. It’s another soft track that features some of the most imaginative lyrics on the album: “Will you breathe your dreams to your pillow like a song? / I woke up and all my yesterdays were gone.”
Folk singer Suzanne Vega joins the duo on “The Man Who Played God,” the song with the most creative concept. With charming vocals that are slightly reminiscent of Sheryl Crow, Vega sings about changing anything around you at the drop of a hat.
Folk rock singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt ushers in a haunting, eerie melody on “Grim Augury.” David Lynch closes out the album on the album’s self-titled creepy piano track in which he sings of a “dark dream world” where “shadows have long gone by.”
If thoughts of misery could sing, they would sound like this album. “Dark Night of the Soul” hits music stores July 13. It’s one of the most brilliant projects to be produced in a long time.
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