So many Matthew Dears to choose from since in his time in
the (mostly instrumental) sunshine of edgy electronic music. Big techno, teensy
microhouse, muddled ambient(t) soundscapes, chipper vocal tech-pop a la
Cale/Eno’s Wrong Way Up – under his
name or some nom de plume – all fell under Dear’s jaggedly forward thinking domain
since his start.
Black City marks a change in that it backs away from the sun and sounds a bleak call for
industrial (albeit occasionally danceable) morass. Mostly dark and steely,
corrosively crusty tracks like “You Put a Smell on Me” move with a fist-fucked
seedy (yet sultry) vibe that an unholy combining of NIN and Depeche Mode
might’ve had if both outfits weren’t truly twee pussies. Dear doesn’t quite
round the corner toward Foetus country – the simmering sex soul of “Honey” and
some of Dear’s odd lyrical triple entendres – but he’s that close.
By the time Dear drives through his bleak mechanistic City with its gear-grinding grooves and
dirt-ball noise, he hits an intersection and finds himself back at the lush
even beautiful Eno-pop of “Gem” – a near-epic that’s as sad and yearning as the
rest of the album is salacious.
People (Black City),” “Honey” “You
Put a Smell on Me” A.D. AMOROSI