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Davis, California

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

CD Review: Beams

Artist: Matthew Dear

Album: Beams

Rating: 4.5

Detroit Electronic producer Matthew Dear’s latest album Beams is the perfect complement to the late summer state of mind. Its eleven lush, highly danceable songs add up to a guilt-free, enjoyable experience; yet each track is laced with an underlying nervousness — a twitchy experimentation aspect that reminds one of the worries that arise from being so close to the stress of the coming school year.

From the opening track, “Her Fantasy,” the listener is treated to an experience more thoughtful than the average dance record, with wildly different sounds such as wooden percussion and bird whistles playing off each other to a driving dance-floor rhythm. This is thinker’s disco, replete with anxious, arty new wave tunings reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, the Talking Heads and even Beck. It is the hard-hitting, bass-heavy grooves, however, which will bring you back for the fourth or fifth listen. Try Beams for an unearthly, inventive album that could hold its own at any house party.

Give these tracks a listen: “Up & Out,” “Her Fantasy,” “Ribcage”

For fans of: Peter Gabriel, Tom Tom Club, Four Tet, Flying Lotus

— Andrew Russell


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