Dan Deacon – America Dan Deacon – America

Dan Deacon is about my age. At the moment, he is settling into his second decade of creating music. When I think back on Dan Deacon and his shows, I am remembering the time when Spiderman of the Rings was released to much praise, hype, and wonder. At the time of its release, Dan Deacon had already been working diligently for five years releasing albums full of wacky electronics. 2007 was a time when the most amount of people danced with him and shared a piece of his vision. Listening to older records from Deacon is odd and makes me wrinkle my face in bafflement. How could I ever like this with any sort of seriousness? Was I high for most of 2007?

Dan Deacon is prone to aging. Spiderman of the Rings sounded leagues more mature than 2004’s Twacky Cats just as Bromst did compared to Spiderman. There has been a constant evolution with Dan Deacon from neon absurdist to level headed experimentalist. Strengthened by his work in modern classical and forays into soundtrack work, Deacon seems polised to enter this class reunion slimmer and more attractive. I was nearly ready to forget about the wacky kid in high school until America surfaced.

From the tone of America‘s press release, the complexity of Bromst has accelerated and combined with a yet unidentified factor. Dan Deacon seems to be turning into something no one expected before — a serious advocate for social and political change.

“The ecstatic, celebratory sounds found on America, are in compelling contrast with the darker thematic undercurrents. The album demonstrates anger, confusion, and apocalyptic anxiety over corporatism and war, but finds consolation in the geography of the United States and in recent social movements both domestic and international.”

If Dan Deacon is about my age, I can certainly understand the shift in direction after 30. While things may not be as energetic and bright as they were 10 years ago there is a sober determination present leading to possibly the best record of Deacon’s career.

The more knowledge one has over Dan Deacon’s older records, the greater America is in terms of transformation. Even older song titles like “Trippy Green Skull” and “Woof Woof” seem juvenile and pubescent compared to “Rail,” “Manifest” and “True Thrush.” There is a realized maturity on America, one that has been gestating for a few years. Last year and through the beginning of this, Deacon has been performing in a compositions at the The Royal Conservatory of Music. Though some of the works are named “Ghostbuster Cook,” the feeling of elegance and structure guides America into the hall of engaging works of art.

There are many wonderful aspects on America including the already mentioned “True Thrush” as well as the first single “Lots.” What defines America, however, is the closing 21 minute four-part, self-titled Suite. “America I-IV” is a reflection on the The United State’s ingenuity and potential destruction with power. There is violence and optimism embedded within the four-part instrumental. The initial press release is echoed in both disdain and hope for a country with a checkered history. Wait…we are still talking abut Dan Deacon right?

America is above all else suprising. Even thre transition from Spirderman of the Rings (I hate writing that title) to Bromst is not as grand and illuminating as the swtich to America. Dan Deacon has done something on this record which I thought never possible — made me supportive and serious about Dan Deacon’s music. I now leave you with a 2004 video of Deacon on the morning news. I still enjoy his older work but at this point it feels like a different person. It is 9:25 in the morning and I am as happy as I am confused.

America Tracklist:

01. Guilford Avenue Bridge
02. True Thrush
03. Lots
04. Prettyboy
05. Crash Jam
06. USA I: Is a Monster
07. USA II: The Great American Desert
08. USA III: Rail
09. USA IV: Manifest

Dan Deacon - America, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2012-08-16T12:41:50-07:00 rating 4.2 out of 5

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