Unknown Component is the moniker under which Keith Lynch has been making music for almost a decade. The Infinite Definitive is the seventh full-length record from the project. One might suspect that the music made by a singular entity might come off as self-important and trite, but that isn’t the case here. Instead the songs are thoughtful and often quite energetic.
My personal philosophy on reviewing an album is that you haven’t listened to it all the way through at least five times, you haven’t really given it a chance. So, I’ve listened to The Infinite Definitive about ten times over the past week, and there are a few things that jump out at me.
First, Keith Lynch’s voice is great for the style of music he’s playing. It’s got this nasal raspiness that reminds me of a mix of Ike Reilly and Kurt Cobain. Never is this more apparent than the song “When The Illusion Is What It Seems.” That’s probably my favorite track, though I am nostalgically drawn to the following song “The Introduction Is Arriving,” due to a surely unintentional resemblance to Huey Lewis & The News’ classic “If This Is It.” The lyrics of Unknown Component are often secondary to the message provided by Lynch’s voice.
Purposely vague, the lyrics aren’t providing any answers, rather they serve the function of posing questions that the listener will ponder throughout the duration of the record and long after it has gone quiet. Lynch has a degree in philosophy, so it’s not a surprise that his music is contemplative, searching for logic in an illogical world. Rather than handing the music to the masses on a silver platter with a little note describing what each song is about, Lynch allows us to discover our own meanings.
In the music, I hear influences from all over the place. Flashes of blues, 70’s glam-rock, mid-90’s pop. It’s obvious that Lynch does a lot of “research” throughout the days and nights. Sometimes this kind of hodgepodge can destroy a record, making it seem like an aimless collection of pieces that don’t make a whole. The album avoids that pitfall by manipulating those pieces until they fit snugly into Lynch’s vision.
Unknown Component recently relocated to Des Moines, and I think the music will get even stronger now. The community of musicians in that area is very strong, and I think there is much to be learned from bands like The Poison Control Center in terms of “making it” without being in one of the so-called “major” cities. Music is music regardless of where it comes from, whether it’s the desolate tundra of Siberia, or the muddy banks of Raccoon River.
And when the music is of the quality Lynch has proven he can produce, it matters even less.