Dan Deacon America

Dan Deacon America
"America the beautiful," in all its forms, is examined on Dan Deacon's latest, America. America's A-side is a series of textured pop songs bridging the gap between Deacon's earlier works, like the poppier Spiderman of the Rings, and the more organic Bromst. Side B is a four-part USA suite, part one, "USA I: Is A Monster," evokes the bravado and majesty of our neighbours to the South with an industrial clang, displaying the beauty and grinding power of the American ideal ― something to be equally admired and feared. Through modem hums and white noise, "USA II: the Great American Desert" brings to mind the emptiness of a literal desert, as well as America's metaphorical cultural wasteland ― it's the sound of 50 radios turned to each state's top-rated Clear Chanel station all at once. Exploring a simpler ideal, the repetitive, restrained, organic arrangements of "USA III: Rail" evoke the heaving movement of a steam-train journey from home to who knows where. Plucked staccato strings and layered piano lines meld, while flutes and trumpets signal to the waving small-town crowds. "USA IV: Manifest" caps it off with a heavy, anxiety-inducing trudge, like heavy, gunmetal black boots marching through a village on the other side of the world. America, the album, like its namesake nation, is an achievement in mixing ideas, forms and executions to a truly powerful and, no doubt to some, divisive end. American Exceptionalism, indeed. (Domino)