Dan Deacon Spiderman of the Rings (Carpark) Release date: May 8, 2007
Starting your album with layered samples of Woody Woodpecker's laugh over delicately plucked thumb piano and cheap analog synth progressions that Styx might've discarded for being too pompous is ballsy. But that's how Baltimore solo artist Dan Deacon rolls on Spiderman of the Rings, and it's a real ear-grabber of an intro. The disc goes on to burst with effervescent electronic pop that simultaneously inflates itself to ridiculously self-important dimensions and undercuts that seriousness with warped, helium-ized vocals and squonkily tuned keyboards. Deacon's music's schizo, but fun with it.
It says here that Deacon's a "classically trained composer with a Masters degree in electro-acoustic composition." And you can hear a higher degree of finesse and complexity in his work than you usually do in most other indietronica releases. But, to reiterate, this academic know-how is balanced by a loopy sense of melodic tomfoolery that launches Deacon's music way out of the observatory and into the rowdy house party of your mind.
It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Deacon soon go on tour opening for Girl Talk; this madcap savant has that much thizzing mojo animating his grandiose-gestured synth symphonies. But then a track like "Big Milk" will come on, with its tender xylophone-and-analog-synth-burble gamelan fantasia, and you're suddenly transported to a swinging hammock in Bali. Utterly lovely.
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Spiderman of the Rings is as optimistic as a grade-schooler on the first day of summer who's just heard "Good Vibrations" for the first time. I'd say many of us could use a daily dosage of this album for the next couple of years of Rove/Cheney/Bush rule.