A Jabberjaw 12" on Perlon, a False compilation on Plus 8, two EPs on Spectral Sound, and now this. An album with a title worthy of Douglas Sirk -- or perhaps a rough English translation of the name of a Japanese video-game company -- Leave Luck to Heaven indicates that Matthew Dear was saving the best of his 2003 artillery for the end of the year. Formatted like a pop record intended for home listening, with most tracks falling somewhere in the four- to five-minute range, Leave Luck to Heaven has a flow unlike any other single-artist microhouse album to date. This is far from a handful of dancefloor-intended tracks apprehensively slapped onto a disc for a more private form of consumption. Vocal tracks -- whether containing verses and choruses or samples reduced to vapor -- are as common as instrumentals, and for every track with a 4/4 foundation, there's an upbeat pop song based around a sharp keyboard melody. "Dog Days" is where it all peaks, falling somewhere between the two approaches to devastating effect. No micro-pop-house single is as singsongy, as loose in the limbs, as springboard buoyant; Dear's baritone, followed tightly by his near-falsetto, rides the contours of a mass of wriggling keyboard tendrils, stabs of synthetic trumpet, an attenuated millisyllable ground into hiccups, and a rhythm that swings with a periodic Teutonic jack. Dear's voices repeat an elliptical four-line nursery rhyme several times over, all of which adds up to one of the most exciting and most unique singles of the year. From the introduction onward, the amount of depth the album is able to build is only increased -- each track is essential to the whole. Rather than end it all on a joyous note, Dear opts to use the spot for the heaviest moment on the album. One of the best vocal tracks, "It's Over Now" expresses equal doses of fear and resentment in the face of impending war ("Kill all those f*ggots/Move on, don't stop"). The album closes out an exceedingly accomplished year for the producer. It also defines microhouse as much as it defies it, all the while carrying the baton for high-caliber, heartfelt techno-pop.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman