Matthew Dear has breathed new life into Detroit techno. "Hands Up For Detroit," his debut single from 1999, became an anthem for the city, invoking the spirit of the mid-'80s, when the "Belleville three" ruled the clubs while inventing techno. After eight years of crafting traditionally pounding dance tracks, Dear explores new territory. While he's dropped the occasional vocal on previous works,Asa Breed
finds Dear singing over almost every track, infusing his usually robotic croon with a sense of melody that recalls TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe. Dear also reveals a vulnerable side, airing thoughts on love, marriage and failure. Musically,Asa Breed
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fluctuates from his usual tech-house rhythms to moody, darkwave-like slow jams and even an all-acoustic number. "Deserter" and "Death to Feelers," two slices of pop goodness, succeed in blending Dear's many sounds. While this disc contains some awkward experiments, it spotlights an artist bravely spreading his wings. -- Eddie Fleisher