No Fun Tonight. Matthew Dear, Beams.

Diversity does not necessarily a decent LP make, yet it remains intrinsic to the oeuvres of avant-electro polymath Matthew Dear. Beams is his umpteenth, and fifth full-length under the name his momma gave him and even at thirty-something he's shakin' that same soma for all it's worth. Shake Me, however, is something of a gelid flicker; a dull flame burning with the introspective ire of Depeche Mode's Violator. Elsewhere however, Dear paints a rather different picture.

Doubtless the man's artistry can never be negated: having relocated to Detroit as a teen out of a pure and simple fervour for the city's techno configurations and industrial dance constructions, he's always been one to envelop himself in that which he adores; to enshroud his body in influence. And certainly certain factors here made eternal can be logically traced to events, enamourments and encounters past: the divine inspirations of Eno momentarily come a-knockin' (there's Roxy slink to the pseudo-spirituality of Ahead of Myself and the dancier, punkier funk hunk that is Up & Out) whilst the rather more humanly pleasures of touring buds Hot Chip seem suffused throughout.

Frequently though Dear's palette proves somewhat unpalatable; an unsightly muddle of microhouse (Headcage, a track which sounds like Matias Aguayo diligently rerooting Cirque du Soleil soundtrack), and blue-wave untidiness (the segueing Fighting Is Futile), and even a more generic Balearia (Her Fantasy). Maintaing these more Mediterranean energies is Overtime, on which Crystal Fighters' blank chants and dodgy wobbles wibble to the fore and turning transatlantic is Do The Right Thing, a bumbling lull evocative of the nettlesome, never absent even in retirement James Murphy taking an awry karaoke potshot at Kelly Marie's Feels Like I'm In Love.

The compelling bass pulsations of Earthforms fare a little better, as does the album's rapturous closer Temptation. Pieces of plink, blip and glitch click into place to compose an elaborate soundscape, each one individually identifiable like beadlets of sweat creeping down air conditioned forehead. Yet the overriding impression gleaned from Beams is that, as with fellow electronica innovator Jamie Lidell, Dear's ability to architect the invigorating has disintegrated with age. It's thus as though the house he once industriously erected is now crumbling. Which is as saddening as the witnessing of a personally renovated abode fragmented beneath a tumultuous steamroller on the warpath. Crunch & crud.