Baltimore based electronic musician and composer Dan Deacon has just released his ninth album and it is nothing short of magnificent. America may just be the crowning achievement of a highly productive career - an ambitious, experimental work that is at times staggering and never less than utterly engaging.
Deacon crams more ideas into one song than some acts manage in their whole lifetime - his edgy, high octane glitch pop is a trip unlike any other. There are hints of the Flaming Lips at their most frenetic or Animal Collective at their most innovative, but America is the work of a man with a singularly unique vision. Very much an album of two halves, the first five songs follow something close to conventional song structures by his own wildly pioneering standards, while the last four tracks (USA I-IV), works as a single piece of music divided into four distinct movements. At the heart of this wonderful album, is a restless, frantic energy that propels this record into places other albums just do not go - opening track 'Guilford Avenue Bridge' opens with an electronic screech, followed by a tribal drum beat that ushers in a heavy bass groove. 'True Thrush' maintains the momentum, sounding like an amped up Polyphonic Spree while 'Lots' is paradoxically Deacon at his most concussive and melodic - the distorted vocal and frazzled glitchy beats collide with a distinctive melody submerged beneath the noise.
'Pretty Boy' takes things soaring off into the ether, spaced out and mellow, an opportunity to draw a breath after the introductory rush of the first three tracks. The second half of the album is where Deacon really flexes his creative muscle - 'USA I-IV' introduces horns, strings and an orchestra into the mix and the result in an incredibly trippy journey, exploring Deacons vision of his America - bewildering, exciting, epic and challenging but always utterly fascinating. America is an exuberant and ambitious work that reveals Deacon as a candidate for musical visionary status. Highly recommended.