Dirty Projectors’ New Album “Swing Lo Magellan”, More Musical Chores from Brooklyn, NYC.

Dirty Pro­jec­tors are anoth­er in that line of bands who go to a great deal of trou­ble try­ing ever so hard to impress. And although you don’t have to come from Brook­lyn to be part of that gang, it cer­tain­ly seems to help. Get those beards a ready for some seri­ous stroking.

Sure enough, their lat­est album Swing Lo Mag­el­lan arrives fes­tooned with praise, much as its pre­de­ces­sor Bitte Orca did.

The boys from Prav­da gave it a hushed 8.8 on Pitch­fork, here. And you’ve that sense of oblig­a­tion as you lis­ten to it, that this is some­thing that you real­ly ought to be appre­ci­at­ing. But once again this is an album that refus­es res­olute­ly to do any­thing as mun­dane as actu­al­ly engage. 

Instead, all you get as you lis­ten to it is the impres­sion that the smartest boys in the class have been locked into their favourite sci­ence lab with a bunch of old 80s vinyl, some ear­ly Orange Juice, Thomas Dol­by, a bit of Heav­en 17, and told to find as many math­e­mat­i­cal­ly inter­est­ing ways of build­ing on their son­ic structures. 

The results are cer­tain­ly nev­er dull. But every time a melody threat­ens to raise its head, it’s ruth­less­ly beat­en down with a fan­tas­ti­cal­ly com­plex time sig­na­ture. Or the kind of melod­ic under­min­ing favoured by Thelo­nious Monk. Or just some good old fash­ioned, aton­al dis­so­nance. And it’s hard not to find your­self won­der­ing, any chance of a tune?

It does briefly threat­en to come to life with track 3, “Gun Has No Trig­ger”, the video for which you can see here. But like “Two Doves” from Bitte Orca, all that does is give you a sense of what might have been. 

As those two tracks show, the band’s front man David Longstreth has gath­ered togeth­er three fan­tas­tic female vocal­ists. What a pity he does­n’t make more use of them. 

Instead, all he sounds like is a teenage boy try­ing to impress the girls with all the many things he knows and is all too eager to tell them about, at great length. When all they want is for him to engage with them, emo­tion­al­ly. 

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