Matthew Dear Headcage

Matthew Dear Headcage
On each album since 2004's Backstroke, Matthew Dear has made huge stylistic strides, gracing the listener with music that comes off just as conceptual as it is digestible. On Headcage, a stopgap EP under his given name, Dear delivers four variations of the murky film-noir sound featured on 2010's Black City. Recorded with the Swedish team of the Subliminal Kid and Van Rivers (Fever Ray, Glasser), Headcage features some of Dear's most cohesive cuts yet. The title track allows the lightweight, cut-and-paste beat (rather than Dear's now-trademark gothic growl) to create the melody. "In the Middle (I Met You There)" resembles Detroit techno the most, adding a rubbery synth line, along with poppy vocals from Jonny Pierce (the Drums). "Street Song" and "Around a Fountain" are both slow-burners, the former utilizing a Dear falsetto to set the mood and the later relying on spacious, skeletal phrasing. If Headcage is a precursor to Dear's new sound, 2012 will be the year he finally emerges from his shell. (Ghostly International)