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Album Review: Dan Deacon - Bromst
by Craig Koniges

I have been waiting with baited breath for this album for a while, just to warn you of the gushing praise to follow. But if you haven’t heard of Dan Deacon, a bit of introduction is in order.  Dan Deacon, a graduate of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College in Purchase, NY is known for having helped found Wham City an artist collective in Baltimore, which could really have its own article.  He is possibly the most prominent musician associated with the collective, though the others (Adventure, Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez, The Death Set, Double Dagger, Lizz King, Blood Baby, and on and on…) are not to be missed. 

He has been playing electronic music comprised of pre-composed backing tracks, samples, and silly sounding distorted vocals with the aid of an iPod and a folding table of electronics.  His unique brand of childish electronic dance music has been a hit, and whenever he stops doing the sound for other bands at Wham City DIY shows, the art-school kids crowd the dance floor so much that you can’t see him and often can’t really move, except when he pulls out some fun audience interaction reminiscent of elementary school games.

Bromst has been touted ‘round the net as Deacon becoming ‘grown up.’  His past efforts have been more electronic, the vocals sounded sillier, and the sounds more gimmicky, and also were composed and performed by Deacon alone.  For Bromst, he uses more mallets and xylophones, and real piano to go along with the keyboard.  He also recruits the help of many friends in recording and his upcoming tour with a new lineup of 14 people, a big change from just him and his iPod. 

The album really follows in the vein of his 11 minute epic, “Wham City,” from Spiderman of the Rings, his last album.  The songs average out to be about 6 minutes in length and most have a slow building intro.  He layers on the different parts masterfully with beats doubling, as mallets complicate and speed up, with the effect coming out to a very full sound that I love.  What he winds up with is an album that is simply beautiful to listen to on its own, but still pumps out beats that your inner pixie-stick-downing child can jump up and down to. 

Though I think all the tracks are equally as good, notable songs on the album include “Snookered,” the best example of his well done slow buildup coming to a beautiful full sound.  “Wet Wings” is seemingly an experiment in sampling and one of my favorites.  The only song without a beat it is the same bit of sung melody layered on top of itself until it makes a huge cacophony which forms a really cool sound sort of like tone clusters.  “Woof Woof” is an example of Deacon still being silly though he is growing up, but really all the songs are great and this album is worth checking out.