Dirty Projectors are an outfit that have a reputation for experimentation and polarization but will whatever direction they’ve chosen this year be worth your while?
Dirty Projectors never were my cup of tea/coffee (to all you fellow tea abhorrers, alas in England we might be a small group), not because I despise experimentation but because I simply felt compelled to focus myself elsewhere. That changed when a friend essentially forced me to listen to Bitte Orca 2 years ago, the songs on that LP quickly grew on me. The quirky vocal interplay between (what seems to be an ever changing line up of female vocalists) the females on the LP and Longstreth, the ingenious guitar riffs, the interspersed orchestral elements, all aided in allowing me to find one of my all time favourite albums in Bitte Orca. Based on the critical pedigree of the band I don’t think I was alone in anticipating this LP and I feel the group have delivered the most intriguing alternative rock offering this summer.
Upon a first listen, it becomes apparent that it is accessible almost instantly. This shocked me, quite a lot. This album was the first from the group that had me humming to a song I’d never heard before, heck, even when they pulled their usual melodic 180 . I think this is largely due to a select few facts. Firstly, the band have structured this album around beats that don’t perplex, but rather invite you into the melody that’s urging the song along. Secondly, Longstreth actually reserves some space on this album in order to sing about things that don’t require a degree of some form to analyze (most obviously ‘Impregnable Question‘). Not to say the man doesn’t sing about things that don’t make much sense anymore, because he still does on tracks like “Unto Ceasar”. Thirdly, the production on this LP seems much more open, breathable even. Allowing a few mistakes here and there to seep through give the album an air of personability and this only allows listeners to enjoy it more. Specifically key tracks on the album include ‘Just From Chervon‘ and ‘The Socialites‘.
In Swing Lo Magellan I’ve found songs I know I’ll be listening to in a few years time and, while it lasts, I’m now going to go back and have the album surprise me as many more times as it possibly can.