It’s easy to become passive spectators of our own lives, as habits slowly form and become a source of comfort. We often cling to habits and what we know, because the alternative means an unwelcome tap on the shoulder in the form of a disrupted norm. However, in some cases, the disruption is welcomed — embraced, even — like when you were young and the overnight clouds of snow meant an extra hour of sleep before bundling up and rushing off to school.
Matthew Dear’s Preacher’s Sigh & Potion: Lost Album reflects this kind of welcome disruption. In his career, spanning over 20 years, Dear, rather than finding comfort in habit, has consistently broken through the boundaries of genre. His production has seen techno, house, indie-pop and beyond. In this album, Dear explores the depths of organic instrumentation. In exploring the album’s journey he explained, “As we age, we get trapped in thinking our output or creativity needs to mature as well. Some of that is unavoidable, but listening to these songs reminds me to not think so much.”
From the guitar strums of the opening single, “Muscle Beach,” Dear leans toward a blues sound, promptly establishing the sonic aura of the album. While Dear uses his voice to narrate the song’s story, the repeated accompaniment narrates his own evolution as a singer-songwriter and producer, and the life-long voyage that comes with being an artist.
In “Hiker Y,” Dear taps into a mesmerizing bellow of deep bass and unembellished percussion. The minimalist sound underscores his lyrical exasperation, a relatable manifestation of fatigues that could easily be derived from a myriad of life’s circumstances. “All Her Fits” delineates the folksy overtone of Dear’s wildly expressive style, an homage to his own father’s guitar plucking. Pivoting from the lower tempos and hushed titles of the rest of the album, Dear relays an untamed, almost frenzied melody in “Crash and Burn,” portraying an eerie account that complements the tune. Another standout from the album, the singer-songwriter unearths a cinematic and deeply intense orchestra of strings as he harmonizes a single line of chilling lyrics, neatly creating a bubble of warmth and optimism.
Preacher’s Sigh & Potion: Lost Album careens across the twangs of folk and electronic music, gently blurring the line between the two. Dear denies the rigidity of falling into any form of classification. His latest release is presented as a kaleidoscope, each song carefully expressing a colorful cascade of sound. Unbridled, Matthew Dear dances across the album, unveiling what happens when we turn toward that shoulder tap and face the disrupted norm.