Album Review: Dan Deacon - Gliss Riffer

‘Gliss Riffer’ demonstrates Deacon’s mind-boggling ability to find order, and not only that, but brilliance, in sheer chaos.

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Like us, Dan Deacon has probably lost count of the number of his releases over the past decade. Unlike many of his contemporaries, however, his music is not necessarily serial. ‘Gliss Riffer’ is just as stupendously mad as a standalone than in comparison with previous works, and demonstrates Deacon’s mind-boggling ability to find order, and not only that, but brilliance, in sheer chaos. Sounding like an acid trip in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory gone right, it fizzes with neon colour and chemistry-experiment aesthetics. 

It is this effervescence that provides the spine for the record. Each track bubbles away like sodium in a swimming pool and burns as bright as magnesium on a Bunsen burner. ‘Sheathed Wings’ pushes this almost to the brink, channelling Oneohtrix Point Never’s insanity but with more of a sense of humour. While this aesthetic runs the risk of being a bit of an audio bully and pushing all other elements to the back of the mix, it manages in fact to do the opposite. This is particularly noticeable in relation to Deacon’s lyrics. ‘When I was Done Dying’ speaks of its author’s seeming exasperation, possibly even desperation, which is in such stark contrast to the playful, exuberant production that they end up complementing each other like peas and carrots. 

While Dan Deacon is indisputably a pioneer in his own right, parallels and lines of influence can be spotted hiding behind the snap, crackle and pops. ‘Meme Generator’ has a glorious shimmering synth backing in the vein of Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks OST, while ‘Take it to the Max’ sounds like Battles and Gold Panda had, well… a battle. These elements only enhance rather than inhibit, proving Deacon’s ability to find the best ingredients for his eclectic recipe.