These tracks aren't fueled by the jittery end-of-days paranoia that kept 2007 speeding along like some titanium concept car rushing towards a nuclear sunset. The scene in 2009 is much more organic, as the title track lopes into your speakers and sets up shop with a few squeaky hinges and clanking gears. It's a rusty machine powered by a complicated engine of vocal samples that play the role of bassline, hook and chorus, throwing off disorienting helium moans and rib cage-rattling groans that scrape the bottom of the bass bin.
"Practice" is nimble with an almost claustrophobic web of pops and clicks running down the center. A straightforward vocal loop echoes the track title and, as the sounds pile up over the course of seven minutes, I wait for everything to settle down into some kind of groove. It doesn't happen. Instead, "Practice" remains an intriguing mess that earns its title. "Fieldleft" is comparatively stripped down with a skeletal frame, some broken-muffler high-hats, and a slinky keyboard lick that keeps things moving. It's a satisfyingly heavy track with thudding drums and a hard bass floor, but it's all prelude that never quite gets off the ground.
Although "Practice" and "Fieldleft" are respectable songs that won't break Dear's winning streak, the title track is one of his finest moments since "Mouth to Mouth" and justifies the entire purchase. If only Michigan could trade its music on the Dow Jones.