Album Review: Dan Deacon
Facts about this album:
* Dan Deacon founded the Wham City art collective in Baltimore, home to bands such as Ponytail.
* Dan says that ‘Bromst’ is about “becoming a ghost, cycles of the earth, mountains, getting older, change, nonlinear time, bees, global conspiracy/oppression of the spirit, 2012, and a psychedelic realm that coexists amongst our material plain.”
Is it supposed to be making that noise?” Ah, those immortal words, first uttered to this writer by a long-suffering mother during Mogwai’s ‘With Portfolio’’s teenage airings; and now posed again and again over the years at numerous polarising playbacks.
It happens to be the default response to any album that wandered near the Pitchfork paddock and approached convention with a cynical eye. And so now it’s the turn of an unnamed NME journo, a man who prides himself on his eclecticism finding one finger on the panic button and another dialling stereo repair as ‘Red F’’s stylophone gurgles pulse relentlessly into our heads. We’re only five minutes into ‘Bromst’ and already causing nervous breakdowns. We thinks this will be a great record.
Dan Deacon is the great divider; he’s either a circuitboard genius, a visual cross between Tim Harrington and Timmy Mallet who jumps through loops and abuses pedals for the greatest electro one-man-band show on Earth, or he’s just a dick. He’s probably both. Either way, this latest effort is set to be interpreted more ways than the Qur’an and see him sat atop an almighty fence pushing anyone who hears it either side with reckless glee.
The key thing is, though, that while ‘Bromst’ is a non-stop migraine of hyperactive glockenspiel (‘Surprise Stefani’), helium-rinsed choirs (‘Paddling Ghost’) and utter stupidity (‘Woof Woof’’s gratuitous use of his pedals’ Chipmunk setting), somewhere in its middle is that all-important pop sensibility. He always manages to pull
it back from the where’s-the-ice-cream? brink. ‘Snookered’’s vocal loops, for example, are just about to drive you into a gibbering fit of cold sweats, gargling insanity and trying to play the flute with your toes before they’re lassoed back into a twinkling melody. And there’s some geniunely sublime moments. ‘Slow With Horns/Run For Your Life’’s mix of Fridge frippery and Fuck Buttons fuzz deserves its own download. As does tribal mini-epic ‘Of The Mountains’.
In fact, this isn’t an album to be eaten whole. By the 11th wedge of banging your head against the inside of a Casiotone, ‘Get Older’ (which can incidentally be enjoyed as end-of-level Gang Gang Dance if you play the album in reverse), even the most hardened noise addict will feel like they’ve suddenly aged. It’s hard work, but someone’s got to listen to it.