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'America' is the best of Deacon's different worlds

Dan Deacon

"America"

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Domino Recording Company

Rating: 3 stars (out of 4)

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If Dan Deacon's first album, 2007's "Spiderman of the Rings," was too cartoonish and short-sighted and his follow-up, 2009's "Bromst," was too dense and insular, then the Baltimore indie-pop maestro has concisely melded his split personalities on "America" (ironically his first release for the London-based Domino Recording Company).

Deacon recently said he left D.C.'s Carpark Records for Domino because his growth in Europe had stalled. After hearing the nine-track, 43-minute long "America," Deacon's pursuit of success on a larger scale makes sense. These are sophisticatedly composed songs bubbling with broader appeal compared to Deacon's earlier work.

Tracks such as "Lots" and "Prettyboy" are within Deacon's wheelhouse — driving percussion, waves of synthesizers and hazily distorted vocals—– while still hinting at his pop sensibilities. The album's second half, "USA I-IV," takes what Deacon has learned from recent work with orchestras and ensembles and applies it to his world. But it's the unabashedly saccharine "True

Thrush

" that transcends the rest of his album and even his entire catalog, proving Deacon doesn't need to outsmart the listener with his compositional chops when he's riding the wave of a potent melody. He simply needs to balance both sides of his extremely busy brain.

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