DIRTY PROJECTORS // Swing Lo Magellan // Out Now // Domino Records
Dirty Projector’s sixth album ‘Swing Lo Magellan’ is a strange beast. Penned by front man David Longstreth over a year long period, it is an emotive and evocative album that will divide opinion.
On one hand, Longstreth and co can be seen as being somewhat pretentious – with many of ‘Swing Lo Magellan’s’ songs having obscure time signatures and its floating around somewhere between many, many genres. But at the same time, a great amount of talent is required to pull off such audacious work as in on show on ‘Swing Lo Megallan’. And, despite the strangeness and thoughtful playfulness of the album’s composition, it also appears to be more beat-influenced and more accessible than the splendid ‘Bitte Orca’, or ‘Rise Above’.
This can certainly be said of ‘Gun Has No Trigger’ and ‘See What She Seeing’, the latter of which is a lazy and hung-over take on hip-hop, where drums patter and broken records appear to have formed the backbone of the song.
The guitar riffs and rhythms, when being deployed in a straightforward fashion, are lovely. ‘Just From Chevron’ starts with a beautiful melody, before breaking down into an obscure time signature. ‘Swing Lo Magellan’ though, stays true to its melodic routes and is a rather beautiful surprise among an album as irregular as this.
Equally brilliant is the lovely, Vampire Weekend-esque guitar melody from ‘The Socialites’, which fits beautifully on top of stunning vocals from Amber Coffman. “Who knows what my soul is worth in cold, hard cash?” she ponders - the lyrical content here is as vivid and emotive as ever. And although Longstreth’s singing doesn’t sit comfortably against the background harmonies of Haley Dekle and Coffman, the result is something compelling and strangely inviting nonetheless.
And that is why this album is so good. It is both off kilter, yet enjoyable at the same time. Clearly for some, Dirty Projectors will always be seen as a bunch of anti-pop show-offs. Yet there is more to them than this. Longstreth talent as a songwriter doesn’t lend itself to straightforward music; instead he allows you to enjoy the imperfections and bumps that come with Dirty Projectors brand of indie.
Eight out of ten