Words by Sam Walton

Deacon’s last album, 2010’s ‘Bromst’, found the composer turned electro-prankster-maverick caught in two minds. Desperate to shed the madcap eccentric tag he had acquired by basically making very silly day-glo techno, he had banned the word “quirky” and was bigging up his degree in electro-acoustic composition from the New York Conservatory. The result was an album straining at the leash of juvenilia and caught between his two personas, with each one apologising for the other.

But what a difference a couple of years make. Where ‘Bromst’ felt occasionally uncomfortable making thoughtful music, ‘America’ revels in it, the first half weaving tapestries of harsh electronica around fine orchestral loops to generate drones and endless harmonics that calmly mesmerise and terrorise. And while side A concentrates on the more thunderous end of Deacon’s tastes to great effect, the album’s real appeal lays in the second half’s 22-minute suite of “America” songs, apparently inspired by Deacon’s first trip outside the States in 2007. Although he retains plenty of deeply synthetic noise across each of the four movements, Deacon scores it for a chamber orchestra, and in doing so laces the electronic savageness with wonderful melancholy and delicacy, and the result is like Fuck Buttons filtered through Aaron Copeland and Steve Reich at their most bucolic. An idiosyncratic, heroic treat.

Read all of this month’s album reviews in Loud And Quiet 41 here. Or order a copy.

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