Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #316 - Matthew Dear, "Beams"

This is literally an album with all bells and whistles blazing. Well, there are whistle noises on the opening track at least, "Her Fantasy". It's a hugely hypertropical, lush shuffle house version of a Hamlet solilquy: "Am I grown man? Am I not a great design?" It's fucking ace. I think.

He has a very deep voice. He is apparently from Texas, but he sounds dead European - Berlin, Paris or Rome. One of them gaffs. He acknowledges a debt to David Bowie. He has a cupboard full of wobbly, rubbery noises that he can pull out to scatter over this album goodness. "Fighting is Futile" in particular marches steelily with bouncey purpose. "Up & Out" has a lovely chewy disco and hand clap combo from the offset. The lyrics are about "fashion underwater" or perhaps "passion". Yeah, I think "passion". It is dark and warm and glamourous, which is all you want from disco tunes.

The handclaps are back on "Get The Rhyme Right" (what is this?? 2003??) along with some plaintive bass tugging. The tune arrives squeezed in through a tiny filter and it's all moody and atonal. The lyrics slipstream around me a little again. "Ahead of Myself" again fills me up with 2003 as it sounds like the kind of tunes my brother was making in his tiny, leaky bedroom around that time - bits of human noise churned up and washing against a confessional vocal. A wider reference would be LCD Soundsystem, I suppose. But it's less about being a record shop nerd; there's an extra frisson of something. Sex, perhaps.

The closer "Temptation" wanders into treble-wobble chill wave territory. I've come to fear that sound almost as much as the beatless ooze of current hip hop; the denial of rhythm's proper place in the centre of dance and rap, as the crucial hook that so much hangs on. But the beats slip in and his dark croak looms and the bells and whistles make a reappearance as the riff builds to a slinky conclusion.

Rating: Hypertropical Hamlet out of Dark Chewy Disco

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