Album Review: Unknown Component: The Infinite Definitive (self-released)

Iowa City musician Keith Lynch has released seven albums and two collections of unreleased songs since 2002 as Unknown Component. His latest effort, The Infinite Definitive (releases 10/12) continues the one-man-band approach Lynch has been perfecting since the beginning.

Lynch has a good head for simple, uncomplicated melody. I found even after the first listen that I had fragments of songs from Definitive stuck in my head. “Future Circles,” with its repeating “Come Down, right now” refrain and cascading reverby guitars, recalls U2 at their 80s and 90s peak. The soaring chorus of “A Heavy Heart Or An Empty Stomach” has a well-chosen transition to a guitar-melody plateau that keeps me coming back to that track, too. The overall production on “Every Measure and Space,” with dreamy chiming guitars and keyboards, shows a strong affinity for the same period Eno/Lanois production of U2.

In Lynch there is a dichotomy. He performs solo in a live setting and is accomplished in this form, but on record he constructs swelling, orchestral arrangements, performing all of the instruments himself. Lynch said in an interview with Scented Vinyl (, “As long as I enjoy writing all the parts myself and it sounds good then why not do it that way?” I find the result of this, however, to be unsatisfying. The songs are missing a spark that comes from live performance, and the result feels more like a demo, no matter how masterful the engineering. For example, “When the Illusion is What it Seems” is one of the more uptempo songs on the record. It tries really hard to drive but the drums don’t propel the song the way they should–and I believe would, were they played live–and instead they just ride the crest, only keeping time with the rest of the instruments.

The Infinite Definitive is the strongest release yet from Lynch. It’s obvious that he spent a lot of time on all aspects of this recording and the album is an impressive feat for a self-taught musician and engineer who is certainly worth watching.