Thursday, April 2, 2009

Review...sort of: Dan Deacon - Bromst

Dan Deacon is a funny little guy. An undulating creature, frying our senses with his sophisto-goof dendrites pulsing out in the gurgling and splurging electric flumes of his synthesizer and his moog and his ring modulator. His anywhere-USA-accent flares in a dorkily crooned boom. His balding head, unabashed and covered in sweat, wobbles around like a paranoid squirrel on stereoids as he dips and doodles around his tabled set-up of various electrical devices and noise-makers and melody melders as a sea, an army, some disarming avalanche of pastel-laden dork-ites in bad sweaters and even less-appropriate leg-warmers start throwing themselves about him in a self-destructively cathartic manner.

You'd need a machete and a torch to make it through the twisted, giddy, self-affirming, life-embracing forest embodied by this electro-dance-pied-piper - who came from New York (with a masters in music from SUNY-Purchase) to settle into a scene of scenes, the incomparably eccentric "Wham City". The 28-year-old composer of buzzing swarms and synthesized replication has been churning out these spastic chipmunk-sung nursery-rhymes of spook and glee for more than 5 years, collaborating with many but always forging on as the man and his music-making-robots, with a notoriously invigorating live show.

For Bromst, his 2nd full-length for Car Park (and, what is something like his 6th or maybe 7th proper release, not counting collaborations) he starts to grow away from the kitchy fantasies, the child-like twirls, the freaky crescendos, the mind-melting psychedelic synth freakouts...but still keeping that ever-hovering weirdness that seems to follow him wherever he goes (just like that flashing, trippy green skull that is ever-attached to his live-set up at shows). The man who often sings through the nasally static fog of a ring modulator is now pouring his heart out in ballad-belting fashion ("Been wrong so many times before, but never quite like this..." he laments in the fuzz-flared build of 'Snookered.')

Bromst is an album. It breaks out of the kitsch, away from the songs about lions with shark heads, the goats and the pigs and the gold spewing fountains, and horse lawyers and Porky Pig and all that neo-pop art rampent random madness... Instead of being upfront and zany like last year's breakout Spiderman of the Rings (where the opening track was some transmogrified loop of a Woody Woodpecker laugh) - we have the slow, somber, envlivening build of the sanctimoniously buzzing, piano-pounding affirmations of "Build Voice."

The cover is quite fascinating. The tent radiates the pastel glow that one would expect to swell from the aura of Deacon's fleet of followers - but it is surrounded by ominous darkness. What we are able to see (lit up by the tent) is warm and autumnal...but whose to tell what's out there. Are we staying in this tent for the duration of the album - or are we merely preparing to finally depart this splindly, colorful playground Deacon's created on past works and get out there into the deeper, darker shit...

Bromst is marked by more drawn out, darker disertations that loom, hover and sway, finding their way into very tribal grooves that give way to eureka-ish swells of synths ("Surprise Stefani"). But, then again - the old squiggly vibe of Spiderman still lingers on the more bombastic run and dance and twist and shout type tracks, like "Red F" and "Baltihorse." There's drama in the builds ("Slow With Horns/Run For Your Life") there's suspense in the lingering, there's adventure in the tribal freak-outs. But if you get into the deeper ditches of the slow draw of "Build Voice" or the emotive goosebumps of "Snookered" or shamanistic female chanting of "Wet Wings," you'll find that this quirky little dude has proved himself in the face of many who would pigeonhole him as merely a jester or glorifier of trashy spaz. He's made an album. He's composed an album...and it's got vision.

Deacon gets deep. Give it a spin...

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