HeadcageAlbum | Matthew Dear By Dave Shim
Scattershot but often engaging grooves.
Whereas his projects Audion, False and Jabberjaw all explore variations on club-oriented hard, minimal techno, Matthew Dear's recordings under his own name tend to downplay DJ-focused functionality in favor of brooding, New Romantic-styled electropop. Continuing the simmering tempos and darkened hues of his 2010 album Black City, Headcage -- a teaser EP for an upcoming 2012 full-length titled Beams -- makes further headway into Dear's evolution as a producer, if not necessarily a particularly strong songwriter or vocalist. The almost My Life in the Bush of Ghosts-sounding title track plays to Dear's strengths: vocal texture (via buckets of pitch and chorus effects) and seductively engaging percussion. Others appear half-baked in their execution: the meandering "Street Song" sounds like a simple vocal take filtered through layers of harmonizer effects. But it's when he strikes the right balance between a solid groove and aggressive sound treatments - as in "In the Middle (I Met You There)," a duet with The Drums' vocalist Jonny Pierce - that Dear finds his strengths. Hopefully, that's the direction he'll continue in for the full-length.