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Dan Deacon - Bromst

  by Mark Rowland

published: 7 / 5 / 2009

Dan Deacon - Bromst
Label: Carpark Records
Format: CD


Hyperactive, but surprisingly spiritual-sounding electronica on new album from consstantly inventive Baltimore-based art pop artist, Dan Deacon

Baltimore's Dan Deacon is yet another artist from the Maryland city with a distinctive approach to art pop. His hyperactive, densey orchestrated, cartoony electronic compositions and humorous, audience paricipation-heavy live shows have built up a solid, cultish following over the past few years, with previous album 'Spiderman of the Rings' receiving favourable reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.If the timing's right, latest album 'Bromst' could open Deacon up to a wider audience. Like fellow Baltimore natives Animal Collective, Deacon mixes noisy experimentalism with a defined sense of melody to great effect. There are elements of Warp-style brain dance and 8bit chiptune in his sound, but elements of folk, world music and new wave also feature heavily, particularly on 'Bromst', where Deacon has expanded his sound to feature more live instruments, such as piano, marimba, xylophone and glockenspiel. The synth sounds used on the album are also created primarily using analogue equipment. The result is an electronica album with a strong sense of warmth and humanity, more mature and expansive than his previous efforts, while maintaining both his manic experimentalism and sense of melody. The standout track on the album is 'Snookered' a sweeping, vulnerable track that starts with tinkling glockenspiel and sine wave and ends with clattering drums, sampled voices stuttering electronics. In between that, Deacon delivers a subtle but emotionally charged vocal performance which ties it together. Opener 'Build Voice', as indicated by its title, builds slowly, initially comprising of layers of sampled voices, before Deacon starts to sing, when the song opens up into a clattering assortment of instruments and electronics. There is so much going on most of the tracks on 'Bromst' that it could easily become a mess, but Deacon manages to keep it all together. Tracks such as 'Red F' and 'Woof Woof' are probably closest to the sound of 'Spiderman of the Rings', with their abrasive 8bit saw wave sounds, loud, bright electronic organ, helium vocals and Devo-esque kookiness, but, though distinctly bonkers, are still a step forward from the tracks found on 'Spiderman...' Deacon uses manipulated voices often in his tracks, most noticeably on 'Surprise Stefani' and 'Wet Wings'. This adds an almost spiritual atmosphere and warmth to those tracks that you don't expect to find on an electronica record. The sweeping build-up of many tracks and their simple, hooky vocal melodies lends the album an infectiously exhilarating air, which would translate astoundingly well live. In that respect, it's not surprising that Deacon has an obsessively cultish live following, particularly as Deacon ensures that his audience always has a part to play within his performance.

Track Listing:-
1 Build Voice
2 Red F
3 Paddling Ghost
4 Snookered
5 Of the Mountains
6 Surprise Stefani
7 Wet Wings
8 Woof Woof
9 Slow with Horns / Run for Your Life
10 Baltihorse
11 Get Older

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