Dan Deacon Rediscovers America

by: Emily Kirkpatrick

September 3, 2012


Photo by Josh Sisk

Dan Deacon’s new album America is a vacillating nine-track ode to the land that’s played a fundamental, if unwitting, role in shaping his identity. In the artist statement that accompanies America, his eighth full-length offering, he writes, “I never felt American until I left the United States… I realized that no matter which subculture I chose to identify or what kind of lifestyle I led I would always be American. Nothing could ever change that. As simple as that idea seems, it was a massive shift in consciousness for me.” This change of mind led to an album influenced by cross-country travel, the vast American landscape, and a culture that insights “frustration, fear, and anger,” while simultaneously identifying yourself as an integral construction of that environment.

America is an album in two halves; the first five tracks are pop songs featuring rave-worthy beats and an infectious, hopeful, enthusiasm. The final four tracks are where Deacon delves into his experience as a composer (he recently created the soundtrack for Francis Ford Copolla’s Twixt), mixing lush orchestral arrangements with a dreamy expansiveness that somehow manages to conjure up the history of America before the eyes of the listener. Deacon’s four-part USA tribute evokes the euphoria of manifest destiny and the digital age, embodying the sense of hope and possibility that accompanies the discovery of the great unknown. Deacon sees this album as his contribution to the ever-changing definition of what America is, “a juxtaposition of fundamentally opposed ideologies that makes up the American landscape.” America is a fun, surprisingly romantic album, but might be difficult for some listeners to get behind. The intense rhythmic beats and electronic distortion can at time feels overbearing and repetitive. Deacon, however, controls his music with such a light, deft touch, that these feelings are quickly swept away as the listener is pulled through a range of emotions and intensity. America, much like the country it’s named for, is really something that must be experienced to be explained.

Streaming now via The Guardian.

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