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
    Dear's vocals are at their most expressive, imposing, and sinister.
  2. Aug 17, 2012
    Dear's fifth album sees the songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist, singer, producer, DJ and all-round clever dick making a bigger, more accessible sound.
  3. It's not that Beams is a lighter listen than Black City, but it's certainly more honest.
  4. Aug 20, 2012
    While this may not be as perfectly realised as "Black City," it's still a beautiful, complex, weird and bold album.
  5. 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.
  6. Aug 27, 2012
    Warm and opening yet still dazzlingly inventive.
  7. Aug 23, 2012
    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.
  8. Aug 28, 2012
    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.
  9. Aug 30, 2012
    It's an incandescent release that places a heavy emphasis on subterranean bass.
  10. Aug 21, 2012
    Beams represents a cerebral and well-balanced opus that could well represent a peerless innovator at the absolute pinnacle of his legacy.
  11. Mojo
    Aug 17, 2012
    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]
  12. Aug 21, 2012
    Beams is an uncompromising, forceful and darkly beautiful album from a formidable musical talent.
  13. Aug 28, 2012
    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.
  14. Aug 21, 2012
    Although it's a trite concept, Dear's delivery sounds new, bathed in glowing, emerald light.
  15. Aug 28, 2012
    As a front-to-back experience, but album doesn't exactly stay with you.
  16. Aug 30, 2012
    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.
  17. Q Magazine
    Aug 20, 2012
    Beams is more expansive and vulnerable that the nightclubbing menace of 2010's Black City. [Sep 2012, p.99]
  18. Oct 16, 2012
    Fleshed out with flecks of African-style guitar and tumbling bass...there's still the trademarked bedrock: that motor-fueled, machine-grind churn.
  19. Aug 28, 2012
    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.
  20. Aug 28, 2012
    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.
  21. Aug 24, 2012
    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.
  22. The Wire
    Aug 23, 2012
    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 22, 2012
    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]
  24. Aug 28, 2012
    Minor complaints aside, Beams is a solid record, and a pretty good Dear album is nothing to be upset about.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 12 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
    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 »