Matthew Dear Beams

Matthew DearBeams
Beams is the fifth album proper released under Matthew Dear's name and is also his least electronic-sounding record to date. Over the course of almost a decade, the Texas-born, Detroit-raised Dear has been pushing the envelope with his pop meets techno sound, but on this album the Ghostly mainstay has reached more into live instrumentation, sampling drums and employing a more typical rock palette. The end result sounds like a more electronic Beck, but still with those breathy, Bryan Ferry-like affectations and the swagger we've come to expect. Lyrically, Dear has opened up slightly with more personal subject matter, especially on lead single "Her Fantasy," which is one of the few tracks to retain that dance music beat. "Earthforms" has a great Krautrock meets hip-hop rhythm, "Up & Out" recalls the post-disco DIY sound of ESG and "Shake Me" sounds like something Dose One could effortlessly lay one of his nasally rhymes over. Beams may not be as tantalising as 2010's excellent Black City, but it is a highly enjoyable album full of solid songwriting and that familiar sexy bass sound that should complete Dear's gradual crossover into the indie mainstream. (Ghostly International)