Dan Deacon – Bromst
I know very little about Dan Deacon – next to nothing, in fact – but I do know he’s produced an absolute humdinger with Bromst. It fair knocks your socks off. It’s energetic and packed with big beats but also has its experimental side too.
It kicks off with a choir of repeated voices, some buzzing and rippling waves of piano. Build Voice, suitably, builds and builds as voices swoon and a beat begins to pound. And then at around three minutes the drums really kick in – a bloody great torrent of them. It’s great. Paddling Ghost is a pop song of sorts – it heads off with a xylophone or something of that ilk before sunny synths and big beats bounce about. Later on mad choirs battle it out with squeals of noise and speeded up voices. More good stuff.
Snookered starts in a rather more sedate fashion – gentle tinkles on a glockenspiel – before maudlin synths and gentle beats take it into easy listening territory. The easy listening world doesn’t last long though as some sledgehammer beats and weird vocal manipulations take the song off into strange and frankly more interesting territories.
Of The Mountains also starts with tinkling noises and a mallet instrument. There then follows some slightly worrying faux ethno drumming and chanting (you know, the kind that you might find in an advert for a soulless corporation that wants you to think they’re all spiritual and groovy). Fortunately some big beats come and squelch all over the chanting and we’re back on the straight and funky.
Not everything works – for one thing some of the longer songs wouldn’t have lost anything by being shorter. Wet Wings, a vocal experiment in the style of Steve Reich’s early tape pieces is rather redundant and out of place. Sometimes it all gets a bit too much and you feel like you’re listening to a piece of music from a slapstick silent film at the wrong speed. But overall the album works incredibly well, mixing up an incredible number of genres into one great dumb bit of fun. And when I say dumb, I don’t mean that the album is stupid in any way – it’s an incredibly well crafted piece of work. Rather, it just has the ability to put a great big stupid grin on your face as you resist (or not) the urge to jump up and down.
The songs probably constitute dance music, though it’s more for the mosh pit than the dance floor. But there’s more to it than that – at times the album resembles Steve Reich on acid such is the amount of densely repeated mallet instruments banging about. Add to this cartoon-esque speeded up voices, demented synths, squeals of white noise and beats-a-plenty and you have a glorious racket.
Words: Chris Dawson