Black City is Matthew Dear at his least penetrable and most alluring. If the David Bowie comparisons were to continue, the album would place him somewhere in Lodger territory. The dominance of inscrutable lyrics, peculiar characters and subjects, and alien rhythms makes the album more akin to the likes of Lodger's "African Night Flight," "Yassassin," and "Repetition" than the relatively straightforward "Boys Keep Swinging." Like Asa Breed, Dear's previous full-length, Black City is best described as avant pop, but there is an absence of lucidity, and no song sticks as quickly as "Don and Sherri" or "Deserter." It's all slippery, sleazy, murky sound-substance -- knotted rhythms with irregular gaits made all the more surreal by Dear's generally vague, suggestive lyrics and wordless, droning background vocals. Depending on your taste, this will likely be instantly off-putting or progressively pleasurable. Either way, it will probably make you feel like you could use a shower. That Black City is Dear's most creative and individual album is not, however, up for debate.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman