Artist: Dan Deacon
Album: Spiderman of the Rings
Comments: Take one look at the title of the record I am about to review.
Look again, just to be sure.
It’s called Spiderman of the Rings, in case you missed it.
This is not going to be a serious, society altering piece of music. And sure, maybe it’s cynical of me to judge an album based solely on its name, or at least it would be if this record wasn’t such a silly work of giggly fun. Dan Deacon is not going to change the world or your life, but he has made the first truly fun record of this summer.
A little background on Deacon: He’s from Baltimore, where he lives in an art convent with a bunch of painters, authors, and guys with beards. For the last few years, he has been working almost solely on running this convent and making music. Based on some choice youtube videos, it is safe to assume that the man doesn’t take himself or the world around him all that seriously; in one video he is balding, beer bellied, and bespectacled dancing to his own music on an NBC morning show.
None of this matters at all to the music, of course, but it might help to get an idea of what Spiderman of the Rings sounds like. Like the title suggests, the album is both grand and relentlessly silly, and it packs all the entertainment and fun of a blockbuster summer movie.
Deacon makes electronic pop music. This album is all keyboards and synths and vocoders and drum machines and samples. The album opener “Woody Woodpecker” boasts some really good sample use, as the entire song is built around Deacon’s distortion of the famous cartoon character’s laugh. Tracks like “Crystal Cat”, “Okie Dokey”, and “Snake Mistakes” are all dandy fun tracks, each one relatively simple, but with interesting little flairs to them, like the toy ray-gun noises in the beginning of “Snake Mistakes” or the nonsensical repetition of the lyric “I’ve got a rattlesnake gun” on “Okie Dokey”.
Throughout the album, Deacon proves that he is a master of building and relieving tension. Tracks like “Jimmy Roche”, “Pink Batman”, and “Wham City” are epic pop numbers that slowly build on themselves as Deacon adds more and more electronic harmony to the tracks until they threaten to explode completely. Theseis big, swelling tracks dare you not to get up and move your feet. “Wham City” is particularly excellent; it builds and crashes twice in its 12 minute run time, and boasts an anthem that will bury itself in your head and drive you mad with its simple joyful nonsense.
If it doesn’t sound like it makes too much sense, that’s because it doesn’t. But this is a record that must be taken at face value to really be enjoyed. One must be aware that this is supposed to be fun, simple music. Deacon simple sythnesizers and keys and turns them into delightfully goofy pop songs. The whole thing is very appealingif you’re willing to let go of all you know (or don’t know) about music and just dance. The number one summer fun album is here, and it is Spiderman of the Rings.
Raiting: 7.5 out of 10
Key Tracks: Crystal Cat, Wham City, Pink Batman, Jimmy Roche
Worth The Money: Yes, but understand that this is a silly record for silly people in a silly mood.