An exuberant, experimental return...

‘Mystic Familiar’ is the fifth album from experimental indie-pop champion Dan Deacon.

The Baltimore native let five years pass between his previous album ‘Gliss Riffer’ and ‘Mystic Familiar’. In those in-between years he kept himself busy with multiple projects, from composing the original score to Rat Film and HBO’s Well Groomed to collaborating with NYCBallet’s resident choreographer Justin Peck.

Through these experiences – he scored a total of eight films in the intervening years between albums - Deacon trespassed into a new realm of experimentalism, honing his skills in creating instrumental soundscapes. This shines through his new project.

The four-part ‘Arp’ skips from soft melodies to an aggravating, almost uncomfortable, feeling of exhaustion, while tracks like ‘My Friend’ and ‘Become a Mountain’ delve into the slightly more pop end of the spectrum.

Despite some (albeit subtle) pop leanings, ‘Mystic Familiar’ focusses on a far-from mainstream idea. His first record to put one concept at its centre, the project is about the supernatural ‘other’ being, one that we carry with us everywhere in our head. It’s a highbrow experiment, and one that’s commendable whether it hits the mark every time or not.

Dan Deacon’s return into the solo world has resulted in an exuberant fifth album that leaves us craving for more of his newly honed skills. The fascinating contrast between his acoustic and electronic backdrop leads us towards an elusive higher power, while some of his lyrics bring us back down to earth.

7/10

Words: Lauren Dehollogne

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