- Coming so soon after the US presidential election, How To Disappear In America is an uncomfortable title. Quinn Taylor, AKA Young Male, announced the album as a "feverish vision of outcast America." It's a lonely and paranoid vision. The songs that don't evoke poorly lit parking lots ("Carrier") and budget hotel lobbies ("Muzak") are shrouded in a dark, heavy fog.
How To Disappear In America is also described as a "tour through a dystopian American landscape," and the music makes sense in that concept. "How To Disappear In America" and "Reveal (Pacific Coast Highway 1 Version)" are strong, ominous openers. The former's synth arpeggio is formidable, and the haunted drone of the latter, nudged by a Seeburg-style drum machine, shimmers in the blackness. There are following stretches that become repetitive and featureless, like a drive through an anonymous highway.
Taylor recycles some sounds across the album. "A Shaft Of Daylight" repurposes the title track's synth textures, while "Muzak" picks up where "Aluminum Sleep"'s drum pattern left off. "Aluminum Sleep"'s fizzing synth sweep is austere and beautiful, but sounds less so when you encounter it again on "Fade." When an album as short as How To Disappear In America references itself so often, the recurring themes don't work so well as narrative devices.
Detours are rare on How To Disappear In America, but when they arrive it's hard not to wonder why there aren't more. "Muzak" is almost song-like, with saxophone curls and sleazy tonal slides, some of which approximate a bassline. "Into The Night," a grotty scrunch of distortion that sounds like a VHS recording of an aircraft, is more primal and direct than the rest. Taylor is a talented sculptor of atmosphere—perhaps more than variety, his album could use moving images to support them. As its own story, How To Disappear In America seems unsure of where it's going.
01. How To Disappear In America
02. Reveal (Pacific Coast Highway 1 Version)
03. A Shaft of Daylight
04. Into the Night
05. Aluminum Sleep
08. Franklin's Theme