After all the rave reviews "Leave Luck to Heaven" got in the press, you'd think Matthew Dear was the biggest thing to happen to American techno since the Detroit masters (Mills, Banks, May, et al.) hit the scene. I can understand some of the negative reviews here, but rather than weak music, I think it's the inevitable let-down from all the hype.
Dear's music has a distinctive shuffle built from short little clicks and pops; and while the sound is now fairly common, when he began composing, it wasn't nearly as prevalent and he still does it better than most. After so much pounding, bass-heavy techno, Dear is refreshingly light. I think that's a big part of the appeal. Some old school techno begins to wear on the ears after a while if you're just listening to it outside of a club environment, but this album seems to float along effortlessly, which in turn, leads to effortless listening.
The one downside would have to be the vocals. Dear himself has said that he's no singer. If he admits it himself, why are there more and more vocals on his subsequent albums? Luckily, there are only a few and the songs don't really depend on the vocal quality. It's a minor criticism after all.
Overall, this is a landmark debut that signals the arrival of a major new artist. Even after Backspace and Asa Breed, I'm still returning to Leave Luck to Heaven because it's just so great. As long as you can manage your expectations, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I'm recommending this broadly to all fans of electronic music. If you're a techno fan, owning this album is basically essential.