Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Aug 27, 2012
    80
    Dear's vocals are at their most expressive, imposing, and sinister.
  2. Aug 30, 2012
    90
    If Black City represents the dark night of Dear's soul, Beams is the neon-lit dawn of an accomplished artist at the height of his creative powers.
  3. Aug 28, 2012
    73
    As a front-to-back experience, but album doesn't exactly stay with you.
  4. Aug 17, 2012
    60
    While James Murphy's homages are leavened with irony and discrete heartache, Dear is more po-faced than pomo. [Sep 2012, p.75]
  5. Aug 20, 2012
    80
    Beams is more expansive and vulnerable that the nightclubbing menace of 2010's Black City. [Sep 2012, p.99]
  6. Aug 17, 2012
    80
    There are moments when dear slips down pop alleys, but for those following, there's a creeping sense it could turn a bit Don't Look Now at any second. [Sep 2012, p.86]
  7. Aug 22, 2012
    75
    Even though it's awkward to dance to, it is nevertheless a piece of work to be admired and, given the kaleidoscopic myriad of influences mentioned here, it's clear that this is something that stands on its own merits. [Aug/Sep 2012, p.116]
  8. Aug 21, 2012
    100
    Beams is an uncompromising, forceful and darkly beautiful album from a formidable musical talent.
  9. Aug 28, 2012
    75
    It's a record steeped in uneasiness, but still somewhat optimistic. Dear's voice might be heavy and his music might be dark, but he believes in the light.
  10. Aug 23, 2012
    70
    There's no doubt that the familiarity of Dear's style after several records means Beams has to work a bit harder to hold your attention than previous efforts..... The good news is that until that issue is resolved, there's plenty here to hold your interest.
  11. 80
    That's what Beams is truly all about: that chance for Dear to break himself down, to boil everything he is emotionally, musically, and creatively to its most essential. With that achieved, regardless of the name its created under, you've got yourself a truly unified, coherent record.
  12. Aug 21, 2012
    78
    Although it's a trite concept, Dear's delivery sounds new, bathed in glowing, emerald light.
  13. Sep 21, 2012
    60
    Beams, like Asa Breed, is front-loaded with the atmospheres and vocal manipulations that are bedrock to his best work. But Beams fails to evince the kind of songwriting growth that the vocal minority of his fans have been waiting for.
  14. Aug 23, 2012
    60
    There are great production touches all over Beams, but unfortunately the songwriting is just okay, and the arrangements often bury the best sonic details.
  15. Aug 17, 2012
    80
    Dear's fifth album sees the songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist, singer, producer, DJ and all-round clever dick making a bigger, more accessible sound.
  16. Aug 30, 2012
    78
    It's an incandescent release that places a heavy emphasis on subterranean bass.
  17. Aug 28, 2012
    90
    Beams builds on the dense, sexy sound of Black City. Great dance music makes you feel like a beautiful Adonis, like an existential god as you jerk your body around to the rhythm.
  18. Aug 23, 2012
    50
    Sadly, Beams doesn't show Dear changing up his game in any meaningful way. [No.90 p.55]
  19. Aug 28, 2012
    70
    Beams may not be as tantalising as 2010's excellent Black City, but it is a highly enjoyable album full of solid songwriting and that familiar sexy bass sound that should complete Dear's gradual crossover into the indie mainstream.
  20. Aug 20, 2012
    80
    While this may not be as perfectly realised as "Black City," it's still a beautiful, complex, weird and bold album.
  21. Aug 27, 2012
    90
    Warm and opening yet still dazzlingly inventive.
  22. Aug 23, 2012
    80
    The closing track "Temptation" proves that electronic producers who refuse to be typecast are the ones who keep the music exciting. [Aug 2012, p.44]
  23. Aug 28, 2012
    75
    It's the album's more subdued tail end, particularly "Ahead of Myself" and "Temptation," that shows a songwriter rising above his comfort zone to deliver a career-defining transition.
  24. It's not that Beams is a lighter listen than Black City, but it's certainly more honest.
  25. Aug 17, 2012
    60
    At the moment, it feels like he's clinging tenaciously to the edge of disco's seamy grandeur: held there by a certain stiffness, seriousness even.
  26. Oct 16, 2012
    80
    Fleshed out with flecks of African-style guitar and tumbling bass...there's still the trademarked bedrock: that motor-fueled, machine-grind churn.
  27. Aug 24, 2012
    80
    Whilst possessing the rich production values Dear's typically celebrated for, 'Beams' sees its creator grow with confidence, slipping into James Murphy's grubby Converse with ease.
  28. Aug 28, 2012
    75
    Minor complaints aside, Beams is a solid record, and a pretty good Dear album is nothing to be upset about.
  29. Aug 21, 2012
    80
    Beams represents a cerebral and well-balanced opus that could well represent a peerless innovator at the absolute pinnacle of his legacy.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Sep 2, 2012
    8
    A sort of career synthesis, Beams hammers home all of Matthew Dear's greatest strengths-chunky blocks of rhythm, pounding bass, and a hell ofA sort of career synthesis, Beams hammers home all of Matthew Dear's greatest strengths-chunky blocks of rhythm, pounding bass, and a hell of a lot of sex appeal. And while restating his musical agenda is by no means a bad thing, it comes off as a tiny bit of a disappointment when compared to the giant leap forward that was 2010's Black City. Dear's music sticks to the dark and seedy formula found on that album though here the results sound a little more sincere and heart-felt. Even some of the song titles ("Do The Right Thing", "Fighting is Futile", "Get the Rhyme Right") hint at a possible new-found optimism, but it's still by no means an uplifting album. His robotic vocal's remain the creepiest in dance music and one of the best utilized instruments in all of independent music. Destined for sweaty underground night clubs and strobe-lit orgies, Beams is an unmatched exercise in sonic sleaze and dance-floor debauchery. Full Review »