Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan

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In their decade long career, Dirty Projectors operate by having an ever evolving line-up and hotchpotch sounds. The last album, Bitte Orca, saw a trio of female vocalists added to the band whose vocals helped propel the band to accessibility with their poppy choruses. Latest release Swing Lo Magellan amplifies that formula, the pop hooks and danceable arrangements are more apparent than ever now.

It helps that there’s a mark restraint in the production, project leader David Longstreth seems to have diminished all the superfluous elements that constituted old Dirty Projectors. There are much less world music influence, orchestration, and vocal playfulness. The experimentations might be more personal to David, but it’s only when the band sounds stripped down and straightforward that us, as an audience, can relate to it emotionally.

Track ‘About to Die’ one-ups Bitte Orca’s poppiest moment with its melodic croon and stuttering instruments, all without seeming disingenuous in its quirkiness. Which is something Longstreth has long struggled with; the band’s eccentricities sounded too calculated before.  When the keyboards sound off tune, the guitar licks dirty, and drums jittery, such is the case with ‘See What She Seeing’, it comes off natural instead of studied.

And when the orchestral crescendo hits, the tune reaches balladic warmth, which is a rather rare instance for the band. The rest of the record is just as heartfelt, especially on the title track – the point when the sentimentality shines like light through autumn foliage.

LISTEN TO: ‘About to Die’, ‘See What She Seeing’, ‘Swing Lo Magellan’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Deradoorian, Nat Baldwin, tUnE-yArDs