SCQ Rating: 80%
Music critics are so engaged with peering into the artistic realm that it’s funny when artists appear to be gazing back. Lord knows what Matthew Dear has been reading of his own press but something must be said of Ghostly’s promotional video for Beams, which seems to harness only the most grandiose of associations with the electronic pop artist. While Dear sits in a NYC loft like an emotionless icon, various artists surround him: a poet reads aloud, a trumpeter plays, an interpretive dancer performs and Ghostly artist Michael Cina paints a portrait of him.
The implicitly highbrow aspirations aren’t the problem; it’s just that Beams doesn’t cater to any of that daring. Instead of leaping into unsure waters, these eleven tracks boast Dear’s assuredness as a producer of immaculate, off-kilter pop and a singer of creative means. The scale of “Her Fantasy” is devastating in the realm of electronic pop, and hooks formed out of Dear’s bizarre, multilayered phrasings strike repeated sweet-spots in “Fighting Is Futile”, “Ahead Of Myself”, and “Temptation”. Less ambitious than the claustrophobic Black City and all the better for it, Beams lacks a grab-me guise to present itself under. But boring as it may sound without the trumpets and dancers, this is the sound of Dear’s open loft; lots of light, space and consistency. That, in and of itself, presents a lovely change of pace.