Matthew Dear – Bunny
Bunny is as varied, strange and untethered as you might expect with moments of singular genius that can only come from a committed tinkerer like Matthew Dear
Why call an album Bunny? Matthew Dear believes, among other things, that "bunnies are cute. Bunnies are weird. They’re soft. They’re sexy. They’re lucky. They wildly procreate. They trick hunters, but get tricked by turtles. They lead you down holes..." That description is as good as any when it comes to what this album is all about; it's an inscrutable collection of new tunes from the equally inscrutable avant-pop dreamweaver.
The interplay between electronic sounds and human emotion continues to be a key tenet of Dear's work, as he imbues mechanical sounds – synths, programmed drums, random robotic noises – with a well of feeling thanks to his deep, affected croon. Bunny's Dream eases the listener into the album, warming things up with electro burbles (à la Graze from Animal Collective's Fall Be Kind), before Calling brings in Dear's inimitable vocals – sadly missed since 2012's Beams – and things kick into gear.
Enigmatic lyricism abounds through the album with proclamations like 'I'll give up all my fears for you,' and 'I can promise you the demons are dead,' filling the gaps between robotic weirdery (Can You Rush Them, Bunny's Interlude), glitch-dance (Moving Man, Duke of Dens) or Daft Punkish vocoder experimentalism (Horses featuring Tegan and Sara).
The two previously released singles (both in 2017) are two of the album's best moments, in very different ways. Modafinil Blues is a paranoid short story about some sort of crime (with a twist!) disguised as smooth electro, while Bad Ones (also featuring Tegan & Sara) is the most straightforwardly pop Matthew Dear is ever likely to get. It's catchy as hell, but it's only his slightly unsettling vocals that keep it from falling the wrong side of insipid.
In all, Bunny is as varied, strange and untethered as you might expect. There are moments of singular genius that can only come from a committed tinkerer like Dear, but also forgettable experiments that sometimes get lost in the whirlpool of creativity that this album stirs up.
Listen to: Modafinil Blues, Moving Man