In 2010, Matthew Dear released his last project, Black City. The project was a new direction for the artist whose music was typically more on the good-time, party vibe.  The album was in contrast to his previous work–and as the title suggests, darker. Now, Dear has released his four-track EP, Headcage, which picks up where Black City left off.

Technically, this record should not make any sense. The music has no logical flow and nothing sounds similar to anything else. But the blend of sounds that Dear has used–from hip-hop samples to multicultural sounds to mellow vibes–somehow work out really well together, showing exactly how diverse he is as an artist.

The EP opens with the funky title track, which already sounds like a departure from Dear’s discography to date.  The techno elements that are typically associated with Dear are replaced with a real funky, vintage vibe—-sounds something like you might expect to hear on the update of The Breakfast Club soundtrack.

“In The Middle (I Met You There),” features Jonny Pierce of the Drums and is one of the most impressive on the EP, a love song that includes a hip-hop loop and (once again) a vintage feel.  The mindset of the track feels like a mesh of Neon Indian with The Virgins, while “Around a Fountain,” sounds like you’re walking through a safari or the zoo. “Street Song,” by contrast, features vocals that sound outer space-like as they float over the minimal production.

While this EP is a rather nice progression for Dear, and truly shows the diversity of his music, it also will give listeners something to wait for when his project comes out. Because based on this, no one will know what to expect–a good thing in a sea of music that is all-too-expected.

-Erin Duncan

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