Home of the Brave
Prolific composer Dan Deacon continues his move towards more reflective compositions with an album that encapsulates our country for better or worse. America can be divided into two sides. The poppier first half, which kicks off with “Guilford Avenue Bridge,” dances through to the fuzzed out shoegaze groove of “Crash Jam.” Second track “True Thrush” is a standout, poppy and catchy, starting with a groove recalling Chicago’s “September” in its feel-good vibes. Electronic blips and handclaps lead into the most vocal-heavy piece on the album, though the lyrics are pretty damn morose, “With the lies you’ve been sold / Let the nightmare unfold / If you don’t mind.”
Side A is typical Dan Deacon, almost solipsistic in nature as it bridges the gap between 2009’s Bromst and now. What follows is the four-part “USA” suite, which Deacon uses to make sense of our idiosyncratic nation. The sweeping orchestral second half makes for a truly powerful standalone album in itself, along the same lines of Sufjan Stevens’ The BQE. Its first movement matches the chaos of one’s separation from their homeland, reveling in the discovery of the country, blemishes and all, and ultimately settling on militant percussion that rolls right into “USA II: The Great American Desert.”
The third movement, “USA II: Rail” moves in an almost western direction and the strongest standalone piece in the suite. “USA IV: Manifest” sums up the introspection in a coolly industrial light. Those seeking another window into where Deacon’s headed musically need only look at this latter composition for answers.