Burial followed Truant almost exactly a year to the day with another mid-December EP that contains lengthy suite-like pieces. Compared to what preceded it, this is easily the producer's most emotional and story-like output. While it carries many of the expected Burial elements -- scuffed-up breakbeats, surface noise, near-silent passages, sampled vocalists made to sound angelic -- Rival Dealer is a significant departure. The break from one of the most frequently sampled funk tracks (the Soul Searchers' "Ashley's Roachclip") is utilized in furious, fits-and-starts fashion. Its urgency, as well as that of a deeper and harder-charging section that follows, is offset by an assortment of somber voices that outline a narrative while leaving much to the imagination. Fraught with turmoil and a handful of uncharacteristic elements -- such as an extended passage that resembles a love theme from a mid-'80s soundtrack -- the EP concludes with a section from Matrix filmmaker Lana Wachowski's speech in response to being handed the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award. Regarding the acceptance of transgendered individuals, it provides an extremely touching conclusion to an emotionally wrenching work.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman