Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Song of the Day #278 - Deakin - Country Report

I don't have to come up, I don't have to come up...

The critical reception to Painting With has been... well, kinda bleak, to be honest. Pitchfork hit it with the career-ender, out-burritoing the infamous "7.4", TMT felt decidedly "meh", and the Quietus called it "absolute dogshit from start to finish". Yeesh. I'm still a big fan of the album, and I still feel everything I praised it for in my initial review, but I can't help but take notice to these negative responses. It seems like the major complaint is one that I also felt, that there's a lack of... some sort of substance, some emotional and sonic foundation that gives the tracks some sort of greater meaning beyond "fun" and "hype"...

Was it, maybe, the influence of the DEAK that we're missing? While Avey and Panda make themselves very apparent on tracks, and we attribute much of the noisey synthy elements to Geologist's wiring, Deakin's role in the band has been harder to place for fans. His solo album has been oft-delayed and beset by some kickstarter scandal that I'm too lazy and trusting to look into. But we had one true glimpse of pure unadulterated Deak with this track, released as part of the 4-song Keep EP where each of the band members contributed one track. It's a solid release... Geologist gives us a bit of ambient weirdness, Avey experiments with more of the noisy effects he used on his 2003 split with David Grubbs, and "The Preakness" could fit perfectly on Panda's Tomboy... but the hands-down best track is Deakin's humble "Country Report".

This, I think, is a side to AnCo that maybe we haven't seen in awhile... the simple, "real" instrumentation, loop-based but with a definite sense of progress, straightforward lyrics about the feelings... And something beyond that, something in the "ether" of the tracks, that lurked in "Banshee Beat" and "Winter's Love" and those other classic AnCo "cry in your blankets on a happy day" songs. As much as I liked Painting With, we did not hear it there. Let's hope Deakin's solo album comes out and is absolutely bathed in it!!

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