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Matthew Dear, Leave Luck to Heaven (Spectral/Ghostly International)
Talk to anyone who's familiar with the children's television program Bob the Builder and you might discover two different views on him. One view is that he reinforces traditional gender roles by pandering to the cultural view that little boys should play with manly construction toys. Another view is slightly more progressive; this view claims that little boys are just as likely to use their dumptrucks as busses for their other action figures as they are to use it to move dirt around. Besides, this view claims, Bob has a decidedly unmanly feline named Pilchard as a buddy. Techno artist / former little boy Matthew Dear knows that both of these views are correct. On this, his debut album, he erects tracks piece by electronic piece, assembling the disparate beats and bleeps and clicks and claps by bricking them together. Listening to tracks like "Fex" and "It's Over Now" is like watching Bob build houses. So far, so gendered. But at the same time, though, Dear weaves together glitchy ticks, backwards tape noises, electronic noise, and fragments of his own vocals (on "An Unbending", it sounds like he's talking from behind a baffle that's made out of drywall) to deconstruct his compositions. It's almost as if Pilchard has taken over and decided to use yarn and mice parts to erect the weight-bearing walls of the house. And that is ultimately the strength of this release: it's clear that Dear is more interested in playing with the conventions of the house (music) business, rather than building another boring condominium.
Anthony C. Bleach