Matthew Dear – Beams
With Beams, Ghostly International founder Matthew Dear wears two of his strongest influences firmly on his sleeve. David Bowie and the Talking Heads loom large, in the louche, chopped punk-funk of tracks like Up & Out, the detuned space disco of Get The Rhyme Right, and in Dear's vocal performance, which has more than a hint of both later-period David Byrne and the Thin White Duke about it.
Looking beyond that, we see the electronic legacy that Dear holds equally as close: Detroit techno, classic synth pop and experimental electronic flourishes are fleshed out in fine, fat swathes of sound from his impressive array of analogue synth gear, backed this time round by a full band. But what makes Beams such an instant classic is not just the way it moulds – Hot Chip-like – classic dancefloor sounds with precise, inventive songwriting and challenging, puzzle-box lyrics.
It's not just the slick, exquisitely-produced warmth and depth of the music; it's the way the whole package works together, the attention to detail. At once incredibly forward-looking and reassuringly familiar – a hard trick to pull off in itself – Beams will feel like an album you've already spent a lifetime with, and can only cement Dear's reputation as one of the finest songwriters in modern electronic music.