I seem to have let this one slip by me last Summer but I'm glad to have now met its acquaintance. Dan Deacon's last venture 'Bromst' (2009) was a cracker. A single-minded foray into experimental joy. Mr Deacon's brand of electronica has a truly human side and one senses that he is a bit of a trickster at heart underneath that wholesome beard! There is both intelligence and humour at work in 'America'; a tangled but sincere love letter to his homeland.
There are nine pieces in the set, four of which relate to the album's title ('USA I-IV') but before we get to the heart of the project there are five other splendid sonic inventions to contend with. Opening track 'Guilford Avenue Bridge' is a bold, brash and breathtakingly complex arrangement full of grinding riffs and mercurial synth lines spinning wildly in the ether above a rip- roaring percussion foundation. In contrast 'True Thrush' is a heartwarming piece of chugging quasi-psychedelic pop with all manner of woodland creates (or so it seems to me) singing and dancing along to the nursery-rhyme-like chorus. A truly delightful idea. The the crash and burn and distorted vocals of 'Lots', too, proves that, despite his left-field leanings, Mr Deacon is a real craftsman when it come to the business of kicking a good tune into play.
The 'USA' pieces take us into new territory. Aaron Copeland and Charles Ives might be smiling from the wings at the introduction to 'USA I : Is A Monster' with its panoramic orchestral sweep but Mr Deacon doesn't keep the high-seriousness going for too long - a sudden switch a couple of minutes in and he's channeling The Beach Boys! It's a hoot! The dense piledriving beats of 'USA II : The Great American Desert' and the more open-textured and playful 'USA III : Rail' lead us by the ears to the powerful and uplifting anthemic conclusion of 'USA IV : Manifest' where all the elements of the work seem to coalesce in an epic vista of monumental beats, grinding chords and elemental 60's-surfin'-harmonies.
'America' is without doubt Dan Deacon's finest work to date. Hurrah for he!