This installment of Listen to this! takes a look at enigmatic Texas born and Michigan raised electronic producer Matthew Dear‘s 6th full length Beams.
Instead of simply telling you what makes the album good, I decided to hit the streets of Toronto and get some unadulterated reactions from a diverse group of Torontonians who likely never heard anything quite like Dear, enjoy!
Matthew Dear – Beams
Release date: August 28
Matthew Dear‘s music is hard to pin down, is it house, electronic, pop, dance or a little bit of all of them? That question is one that many people are often adamant about answering while listening to an album, they want to have something to latch on to, a genre to say they like (or don’t) when asked about their taste. Regardless of what Dear’s music is, it is always an intriguing and great listen, and his sixth full length Beams is no exception.
Album opener ‘Her Fantasy’ serves as a good microcosm for the entire album, featuring a bevy of samples, danceable percussion and bass line, the track will get you dancing while still wondering what it is you’re listening to. Dear can be something a ‘love him or hate him’ artist, largely because of that trademark voice, equal parts creepy mutter and sexy nonchalance.
One track which is impossible to hate is the album’s second, titled ‘Earthforms’. Prior Dear albums feature scarce traditional instruments, but here the bass stands out and possesses a funk that is undeniable. To test my theory that this track is one that just about anyone can get behind, I hit the streets of Toronto and played the song for, well, just about anyone:
After that early highlight, Beams continues to switch it up, with bizarro house tracks like ‘Headcage’ bringing the pep and ‘Fighting is futile’ being a repetitive trip. ‘Up & Out’ is one of the most straight forward tracks on the album, that’s not suggesting it is a bad track at all, with a bass line nearly as funky as that of ’Earthforms’.
‘Overtime’ would not be out of place on a soundtrack, to what kind of film one can not be sure. The lyrics should not be overlooked on this album, and ‘Ahead of Myself’ is a prime example of this, as Dear repeatedly checks himself, muttering ‘call off all your armies and let’s go to sleep at home, but wait, I’m getting ahead of myself‘ over dreary synths.
For all of its varied highlights, Beams ends with a very well aimed curveball in the form of ‘Temptation’, which is insanely busy but still oddly beautiful.
Beams sounds like its album art looks, muddled, hard to define, somewhat dark, yet very alluring, give it a listen.