Dan Deacon, 'Bromst' (Carpark)

Critical Mass
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by Charles Aaron

If you're the sort of lapsed grad student who wears Super Mario t-shirts and freaks the fuck out at art spaces in emerging neighborhoods, then Dan Deacon is already your electro-punk party hoss par excellence. But when the winningly pudgy Baltimorean isn't pogoing amongst the masses -- as tinny eight-bit beats chatter like an orgy of chipmunk ringtones -- is his Saturday-morning-cartoon concerto worth getting up for?

On 2007's Spiderman of the Rings, that moment of worthiness was "Wham City," a sweetly cacophonous 11-minute-plus crescendo to a defiant nursery-rhyme chant. And it's also the aesthetic jump-off for Bromst, which mixes electronics with live percussion, brass, vibraphone, player piano, marimba, etc., to deepen the nods to Steve Reich's minimalist throb and chime while winking at the choral psych pop of Mercury Rev and the Polyphonic Spree. "Snookered" is the centerpiece -- kidlike keyboard plinks and the ambient hum of looped voices swell to a shaggy indie- rock lope (with Deacon crooning, "Been wrong so many times before / But never quite like this"). "Of the Mountains" boasts a tribal glee, and "Wet Wings" slows for a stunning interlude of folksy female wails.

But what about all that chipmunk chatter? Oh, it still blares on. Even at his most contemplative and nuanced, Deacon remains a DIY trickster at heart.

Listen: Dan Deacon, "Get Older"

Get Older - Dan Deacon

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