Princess Stomper

Dan Deacon – America (Domino)

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By Princess Stomper

Oh, this is fucking beautiful. The phrase “cathedrals of sound” was so wasted on those insipid indie boys. This is playful, exultant, a rhythmic orgasm. It sounds how being tickled feels – breathless, delirious and a little bit dangerous. This is just ‘USA II The Great American Desert’ – I’ll get to the rest in a minute.

Battles’ percussive mantras, Sufjan Stevens’ orchestral bombast, Air’s lightness of touch and Necessary’s slinky grooves. There are vocals here, which I didn’t really expect. I’ve not heard anything by Deacon before (I know!) so I can’t compare this to prior outings. The Guardian reckons he’s singing his outrage at US foreign policy, but it all sounds like cotton wool and bunnies from where I am. ‘USA III Rail’ rattles along like a New Age prayer aboard a high speed express; ‘USA IV Manifest’ abruptly switches to a darker, almost industrial groove before segueing into a Battlesish chorus and then on into a showy flourish, then over. I pout. Again!

Now back to ‘Guildford Avenue Bridge’ and it’s a furious breakbeaty beast, snarling and snapping but wagging its tail by a third of the way in. Ian Curtis couldn’t dance to this. ‘True Thrush’ manages to sound like the Beach Boys without aping those harmonies – it just sounds like cool breezes and sunshine. Air. But heavier. ‘Lots’ is a full-on invitation to mosh – one of those play-at-top-volume-in-your-car tracks with shouty distorted vocals, la-la-la backing vox and big lolloping, rolling drums. Boy sure loves his vocoder.

Like most of my favourite music lately, it is infused with classical in both structure and sound. ‘Prettyboy’ would be at home on a movie soundtrack; the psychedelic repetition elsewhere reminds me of Steve Reich. (I love how so many acts can take the same bucket of influences and paint such different pictures.)

Ah, this is beautiful. (‘USA I Is a Monster’.) One of those breathtaking, eye-watering vistas like I imagine the Grand Canyon would be if you were standing there and realising how BIG it is.

Maybe not moved to tears, but humbled.

2 Responses to Dan Deacon – America (Domino)

  1. Daniel August 28, 2012 at 8:01 am


    I assumed that the first track was actually a nod to the band USA Is A Monster (and one-time backing band to Johnny Fritz aka Corndawg). I’m guessing the Guardian isn’t aware of them. I disliked the first record and the two live shows I’ve seen, but this sounds pretty different, so I’ll bite.

  2. Princess Stomper August 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    @ Daniel – it’s definitely an album of two halves, so if you don’t get on with the first half (which I’m informed is typical of his sound), stick with it to the soundtracky second act.

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