Originally sold out at Record Store Day 2012, but we managed to snag a couple more copies for those that slept. Matthew Dear steps out of the darkness that was 2010's Black City and into more melodic, synth-laden, vocal-driven territory on Headcage. You can tell from the title track "Headcage" that this is a whole new ball game for Dear, who is actually working with other producers and vocalists on the EP. From Ghostly: "Headcage" leads with a dense, mutating cluster of breaths, whispers and assorted technicolor sounds until it coalesces into a hearty chug. The song gets an added aural heft from co-producers Van Rivers and The Subliminal Kid, a Swedish partnership notable for work on albums like Blonde Redhead's Penny Sparkle, Glasser's Ring and Fever Ray's self-titled record. The unabashed melodic thrust of the lead vocals by Jonny Pierce (of Brooklyn outfit The Drums) makes "In the Middle (I Met You There)" one of Dear's most perfect—and unique—pop creations. The first duet in Dear's decade-long career, the dopamine flies when Dear's baritone kicks in. "Street Song" forgoes percussion and propulsion for a drifting, intoxicated reverie of an exotic melodic phrase, bubbling bass and Dear's falsetto. Something perhaps culled from a late night reverie heard from a window, or an imagined city long gone. "Around a Fountain" offers a dubby low end and claustrophobic atmosphere, but Dear's voice leavens the darkness, rounding out the EP with hymn-like whisper. Printed on grey marbled vinyl with beautiful pic sleeve designed by Michael Cina. Limited to 700 copies.
- music label: Ghostly International 2012
reviewed by TKB 07/2012
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