DAN DEACON: Bromst (Carpark Records)


Posted on Apr 29th 2009 12:42 am

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Dan Deacon: Bromst

Carpark Records 2009
10 Tracks. 64mins20secs

Icon: arrow Buy: CD | LP | MP3 | iTunes

Dan Deacon is not your archetypical classically trained musician, with past outputs ranging from the playful, quirky or bizarre to the manic or plain silly. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, home of Animal Collective, Deacon first got noticed over two years ago with his debut album, Spiderman Of The Rings, published on Carpark Records, largely made up of hyperactive laptop-based songs sounding half way between 8-bit electro inferno and cartoon-esque insanity. Prior to the release of this album, Deacon had already got the hype machine running overtime in his neighbourhood thanks to is involvement with art collective Wham City and incendiary live sets. Since, he’s had music featured on a handful of split singles and collaborated on a DVD release with Jimmy Joe Roche.

With Bromst, his sophomore release, Deacon shows some clear signs of maturing as he incorporate more live instrumentation and brings down the pace of his compositions a tad, resulting in a much more balanced collection. Perfectly illustrated by the slow-burning album opener, Build Voice, with its two-tone backdrop upon which vocals progressively add layers of textures and bring the piece to life, or, later on the superb Snookered, undoubtedly the highlight of this album, which kicks off in lullaby mode before gaining momentum, once again quite slowly, until the deceptively simple main melody becomes engraved deep into the brain and never for one moment lets go. This clarity of tone, together with much more detailed and refined arrangements, is again found on Of The Mountains, where xylophone and glockenspiel cohabit happily with tribal drums and fizzy electronics, or on Surprise Stefani, which grows from a droney opening sequence into a dense pop song before dropping tension and exploding into colourful marimba and glockenspiel motifs toward the end. More surprising is the wonderful vocal assemblage of Wet Wings, which could almost find its roots in traditional Eastern European polyphonic singing, wouldn’t it be for the obvious electronic treatments, or the processed loops of Woof Woof.

Yet, Deacon hasn’t totally given up on his agitated antics. There are still plenty of squeaky bleepy eruptions and speeded-up vocals on display throughout, at times cleverly incorporated within more sophisticated soundscapes, at others let loose to rampage into chaotic pop songs (Red F, Slow With Horns/Run For Your Life) and channel, as much as possible, the massive energy discharge of his live shows.

In the two years that separate his first release to this one, things have changed considerably for Deacon, with the closure of art Wham City, and, as he puts it, ‘heartbreak, becoming more spiritual’. It is therefore not surprising to find this new LP a more mature offering, but the tour de force of the record is to be found in the way Deacon has managed to retain his enfant terrible side and inject it in the more adult compositions.


Icon: arrow Dan Deacon | Dan Deacon (MySpace) | Carpark Records
Icon: arrow Buy: CD | LP | MP3 | iTunes

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