wed 24/07/2024

CD: Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

CD: Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

Polyrhythmic perversity from Dave Longstreth and his willing minstrels

'Swing Lo Magellan': just songs

Compared to previous Dirty Projectors records, Swing Lo Magellan is a walk in the park with a piece of cake to follow. Then again, previous Dirty Projectors records include a so-called "glitch opera" about Don Henley, a "re-imagining" of a punk album that Dave Longstreth hadn't heard in 15 years, and an EP featuring a 10-piece chamber music collective that Longstreth put together and then named "First Orchestral Society for the Preservation of the Orchestra."

Their last album, 2009's Bitte Orca, found the singer-songwriter-producer and his willing minstrels edging towards the straightforward. Swing Lo Magellan continues along this path. Explaining the difference between the two LPs in a recent interview, Longstreth surmised: "You could say Bitte is about the idea of songs, but these are just songs." At this point, it's helpful to mention that Longstreth has a music degree from Yale University.

Whatever Swing Lo Magellan is, it's tricky to pigeonhole, and it's not quite art-pop ear candy. Longstreth is too fond of polyrhythms; his straining vocals really do need sweetening by the harmonies of Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle; and he's still prone to a brainiac arrangement. "Offsprings Are Blank" sounds like a tug of war between girl vocal R&B and garage rock. "See What She Seeing" invents a new musical genre that could be called "glitch-hop". The combination of bluesy guitars and clashing cymbals on "Maybe That Was It" could be called "a bit of a racket".

Even when he indulges his experimental side, it feels more accessible than esoteric. The melodies and lyrics keep yielding more with each listen, which suggests Longstreth was close to getting it right. These aren't "the idea of songs", or even "just songs"; they're actually "very good songs".

Watch the video for "Gun Has No Trigger"

The melodies and lyrics keep yielding more with each listen


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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