In his laid-back Texan (via Detroit) way, Matthew Dear seems hell-bent on becoming a pop star. Already a fixture on magazine covers-including XLR8R's-the recent NY transplant continues to refine his singer-songwriter skills on Asa Breed-which portends another flurry of photo shoots and interviews. While many electronic artists incorporating vocals and song-based tropes come off as saccharine or excessively introverted, Dear strikes a satisfying balance between catchiness and adventurousness. Singing in desultory, Smog-like tones about love's perplexing complications, he changes up the rhythms and textural embellishments, avoiding ruts with charm and grace. The subliminal, hypnotic pulse that ran through Dear's breakout track "Dog Days" recurs in varying degrees here, too, enlivening songs that already have plenty of tang.