Release Date: Mar 24, 2009
Record label: Carpark
It would have been all too easy for Dan Deacon to continue to play the Day-Glo huckster, leading dance parties with his glowing green skull and Woody the Woodpecker samples, and living off the novelty of his 2007 breakthrough, Spiderman of the Rings. And who could blame him: Dance-music careers have been built on less. But Deacon didn’t go to musical conservatory for nothing.
Midway through 2007, someone asked me the usual question-- the one about which records I'd want to take with me to a desert island. The first answer that sprang to mind seemed somehow perverse: Dan Deacon's Spiderman of the Rings? I certainly didn't think this was one of the best, most profound, or most life-sustaining records I'd ever heard, and it wasn't as if I had some great personal attachment to it; I'd only first heard the thing that spring. But it seemed like a lifetime on a desert island would get awfully lonely, and there was something about the album that seemed like a solution to that problem.
In 2007 , Dan Deacon's vibrant Spiderman of the Rings established this Baltimore-based one-man orchestra as a lovable Professor Branestawm figure on the fringes of the global electro resurgence. This muscular follow-up ratchets up the internal tension until his exuberant toy-town techno becomes a shot of pure musical adrenalin. .
From the first few minutes of Bromst, Dan Deacon's second Carpark full-length, it appears he may be going back to his university days at SUNY-Purchase, where he studied electro-acoustic composition. A slow-building track, naturally called "Build Voice," it repeats his vocal sample over and over with plenty of reverb -- an avant-garde piece, for sure. Still, it's only an introduction, and Bromst unfurls as an extravaganza of noise-pop that looks, not to the dance field, but to the slowly burgeoning indie rock fetish of voices, either in harmony or in chorus (think of Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes).
Dan Deacon's second official UK album Bromst is a mischievous, soulful collection of spirituals and spasms, on which the Baltimore-based artist proves himself to be a master manipulator of base materials. Starting gently, opener 'Build Voice' is all blissful, tripping vocal samples, tension building until finally immersing you with chorusing saxophones and hysterical beats. It begs your full engagement, and indicates that Deacon has gone for the 'throw enough and some sticks' approach in excelsis.
Time is a son of a bitch. It robs us of our bodies, minds and good looks. It takes our friends from us. But perhaps most damagingly, it alters our view of the past. The further detached we are from events, the more blurred they become in our memory, which leads to broad strokes of emotion in place ….
A few months ago, I stood in line outside of the Hirshhorn Museum of Art in Washington, DC for an hour or two, in order to gain entrance to the latest installment of the institution’s wildly popular “After Hours” series of events. The main draw that evening was Dan Deacon, who would bring his absurdly egalitarian live show to the museum’s outdoor plaza. For once, the art world socialites and dilettantes were outnumbered by music fans, many of whom looked like they were barely old enough to get in.
Watching Dan Deacon’s videos and seeing clips of his shows online, it’s obvious that he intends his music to be fun and uplifting. Or if not simply the music, at least the spectacle of his live show. And it certainly is. There is dancing, stand-up, audience participation, community: bombast! Bromst, however, doesn’t come with a vintage-clad version of the Verizon Network; it’s just a calcified document bereft of any spectacle, and for that lack, it’s slightly depressing.