Ago 19 2010, 17h38

I suspect like many people I was hoping for a record in a similarly upbeat vein to Asa Breed when I received Black City - the second full length from Matthew Dear where he uses his own name for more pop-orientated releases. Therefore getting my head around the significantly bleaker beats contained within took a good three four listens, and only then did my feelings of vague disappointment fade away and allow me to enjoy what is ultimately a spirited follow up to one of my favourite albums of the last ten years.

Firstly, Dear has one of the most distinctive voices in pop music as ably demonstrated on the woozy funk of 'I Can't Feel'. Chugging grooves, mutilated acoustic guitars and lyrics that are delivered mantra style are enveloping and engaging. 'Soil To Seed' is perhaps not the strongest song on the record, but neither does it stick out as not belonging there either. The humorously titled 'You Put A Smell On Me' is where things start to move into heavier territory. Arpeggiated synths and glamourous drums join together for a strutting, pouting workout. 'Monkey' and 'More Surgery' are again, not Dear's finest work but do little to cause offense either. In fact that's one of the problems I encountered when listening to Black City. At the sign of Dears voice, I can't help but want 'Don & Sherri' or 'Pom Pom MK2' to be the music I am hearing.

However, those kind of emotions, or those sounds are clearly not what Dear is trying to convey, (find out more in our interview with the man himself) and to try and reconcile what Dear wants to play with what I want to hear is a fruitless task. Introspective and pop music are not always happy bedfellows, and I can't help but wishing for a few more hooks - it would see blissful diversions such as 'Gem' arrive with more impact and add to the dynamics of the record.

Still, my expectations are not the point. Think of it as his moody second album and you'll have no problem - for all of my criticisms (minor, I might add) the world needs producers like Matthew Dear, and there is nothing here to find genuine fault with.

Matthew Dear
Black City
Ghostly International
Asa Breed


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