Review Summary: One of the strangest, most cockeyed releases of 2007--and also one of the best things this year. Spiderman of the Rings tosses out convention for fun and wins the battle.
Madcap absurd electronic artist. Some combination of those words usually figure into any review of Dan Deacon's albums, much as the words sky, sun, shifts, drips, shadow, and sand figured into any title on White Rainbow's Sky Drips Drifts album. But people tend to forget that the electro-acoustic composition training that Deacon underwent figures heavily into all of his work, showing a controlled chaos and keen ear for textures more than just "watch me go f ucking nuts on this sine wave generator and shout!" as he can be labeled. Take opening song Wooody Wooodpecker, with just enough O's to not infringe on copyrights. A nails-on-a-chalkboard sample of the titular bird laughing forms the bed that all elements add on to. Elements like a piercing keyboard part, drums, and some FM modulated sine waves until an opus of noise has been formed. By the time the 3:50 mark signals the end, the ear has become acclimated to this melange of sounds that will carry on throughout--and by that same mark, many people who bought the album based on reviews or on a whim will be throwing it out, probably calling it a mess or Chinese water torture on plastic. But for those who wish to go on, rewards are great. The Crystal Cat is surf-rock bliss until Deacon throws in some indecipherable vocals upped by about two vocal ranges, and drums pound away at speed usually reserved for breakcore artists or speed metal. Centerpiece Wham City showcases everything great about Dan Deacon. Those simplistic and clean sine waves, a nice keyboard riff, trademark drums, and (dare I say it?) wacky lyrics about nothing. "There is a mountain of snow..." voices chime, eventually working to a section describing animals owned by a bear, like rats and bats, and cats, and a ton of other things that bear no relation to the fountain mentioned less then three lines ago. Even a short break resembling a nephew thrice removed from Bucephalus Bouncing Ball seems entirely in place, as that section fades back into that catchy chorus about God knows what.
Big Milk and Okie Dokie serve as pieces to only up the energy in their own odd and fantastic ways, especially the serene Big Milk that serves as a fitting coda to the frenzy of Wham City. Okie Dokie's ramblings about a rattlesnake gun serve as a set up to possible snake mistakes later. Trippy Green Skull, a paean to one of Deacon's most memorable stage props, is more absurdity that one cannot help but love (including a chorus from a Ludacris song pitched up again and sung in a way that is sublimely hilarious). Now, pardon me for glazing over these songs, for the action is in Snake Mistakes. Decipherable words finally come in, singing about the titular errors. "I make these snake mistakes," Deacon half shouts, leaving the listener wondering what exactly a snake mistake is--it doesn't sound pleasant, but one cannot help but feel a want to make one in order to get into the twisted viewpoint of the singer. Even gloats about how, "My dad is the coolest dad," cannot derail the song during the dead stop vocoded madness--and it only elevates the song into a new level of awesomeness. Pink Batman is a stunning beauty hidden in a bizarre wrapper that must be heard to be loved, and Jimmy Joe Roche is a delight to behold as Reich-ian repetitions blend in sine wave tsunamis to wrap up the album in a similar way to its beginning.
While Dan Deacon is probably unknown or hated by more people than he is loved, Spiderman of the Rings cannot help but win some fans for the guy. It's intriguing, encapsulates everything good about him, and is genuinely entertaining. If the Terry Gilliam on LSD collage work that calls itself the artwork doesn't grab your eye, let the amazingly concise music grab your brain instead. Now let's just wait for the B-side to The Crystal Cat, Totally Boner Eat ***, come out in a hard copy format on a CD and not a record so the pleasure from any song by Dan Deacon can be enjoyed repeatedly without wear on a needle.
|other reviews of this album|
This album is fun, But I don't think its as good as you make it out to be. I really wanna see Dan Deacon live though. that looks like a party !
Digging: Assumption - The Three Appearances
Album Rating: 4.5
Great review, I completely agree ;)
Album Rating: 4.0
ok, first, your review makes it seem like you rated it like a 3/3.5
Those simplistic and clean sine waves, a nice keyboard riff, trademark drums, and (dare I say it?) wacky lyrics about nothing. "There is a mountain of snow..." voices chime, eventually working to a section describing animals owned by a bear, like rats and bats, and cats, and a ton of other things that bear no relation to the fountain mentioned less then three lines ago.
How can you not see the relation of the lyrics? It's all together.
"There is a mountain of snow
up past the big glen
we have a castle enclosed
there is a fountain
out of the fountain flows gold
into a huge hand
that hand is held by a bear
who had a sick band"
The bear, who has a sick band, is holding gold in his hand that flowed out of the fountain. It's not a hard concept. Yes there is random shit included, but he makes sense of it.
I dunno you didn't sell this album at all.
any14doomsday, it is a party live, it was awesome, saw him saturday.
..damnit i figured, Every time He comes around here I miss it.
Album Rating: 4.5
IsItLuck? - To each his own. I'm sure as time goes on you'll see I have a unique style of writing/reviewing. I'm sorry if I didn't sell it to you, or delve into the small bits of every word Deacon says.
I realise now what you meant, and it's hardly meant as an insult to Deacon. I love his work genuinely, but I mean nothing in his style--it's ABSURD electronic. Like how the lyrics of I Zimbra are nothing out of context, which is what I meant but failed to elucidate.This Message Edited On 09.21.07
There's a difference between clashing styles of writing and his genuine constructive criticism. He has a point, and a review can be decidedly weak if the review doesn't seem to match the rating. Delving into small bits of every word Deacon says isn't what he meant. He meant that you shouldn't call it about nothing just because you can't tell what it means [edit:] which, if you think about it, is an insult to Deacon, even if you mean it lightly, especially in context of your rating.This Message Edited On 09.21.07