Music Review

October 15, 2010


Unknown Component, the independent one-man project of Iowa City singer/songwriter Keith Lynch, released his eighth album, “The Infinite Definitive,” Oct. 12. 

According to a press release, Lynch is a self-taught musician and multi-instrumentalist who also wrote, recorded and mixed every track. 

Aside from some mastering work by Travis Husiman, “The Infinite Definitive” is completely Lynch’s brainchild. 

A stand – out feature of the album is the compositional style. 

While I would not begin to say the album is entirely innovative or groundbreaking, the sound contains somewhere within it a kind of signature like a piece of the artist’s soul is embedded between the notes. 

Guitars exist in an odd void, shifting and echoing in a seemingly endless atmosphere while the drums and bass maintain an understated space. 

Lynch’s voice, like a rougher combination of Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) and John Linnell (They Might Be Giants), stands at the forefront. 

If the artist’s name, album title or song titles, such as “The Experience of Understanding” or “When the Illusion is What it Seems,” didn’t give it away, Lynch’s subject material is out there. 

While the music at times becomes various shades of college rock, alternative and a dark form of adult contemporary, the lyrics hint at deep themes, meditating on interpersonal issues while also incorporating elements of science and the universe. 

“The atoms are colliding, causing an infinite age,” he proclaims in “The Introduction is Arriving,” a song I gathered to be about spiritual evolution in a world that is changing and going on without us. 

Meanwhile, in “Foundation of Rebellion,” he says, “This is your direction now, forget about the crowd.”

One issue I had with the album was the occasional clash between Lynch’s voice and the music. This is not to say he cannot sing. 

He can do so just fine. The problem is when such a discrepancy occurs that Lynch’s vocals seem to scratch and drone against the rhythm. 

Countering the vocal issues, however, is Lynch’s knack for melody. Chords transition smoothly, and the instruments meld together to create rich hooks for him to base his messages. 

As the closing song “Electric Dissolution” comes to an end with a brooding piano, I felt there was something between the lines that I was meant to see. 

Even after several listens, the album still holds some kind of mystique, requiring listeners to pay attention to understand meanings.


You can download a free track from his album at www.unknowncomponent.com



E-mail comments to rww015@latech.edu.