Swing Lo MagellanAlbum |
David Longstreth and company turn toward accessibility.
An odd sensation kept recurring the first two or three times I listened to Dirty Projectors' sixth album: is it simply that I've gotten so used to David Longstreth and company's quirks that they don't register like they used to, or is Swing Lo Magellan a more straightforward album than they've ever attempted before? There's a little of the first, to be sure: the oddly-tuned guitars, sudden time-signature shifts and Longstreth's evident disinterest in finishing a vocal line in the same key he started in are just what we expect from Dirty Projectors by now. But Swing Lo Magellan lacks the sometimes off-putting coldness that's previously been a major part of the Dirty Projectors experience. There's a newfound intimacy here, both in the scaled-back arrangements and in the lyrics, which for the first time feel like they're about something more than Longstreth's fondness for abstruse wordplay. (Not that they're entirely cured of goofy pretentiousness: the unexpectedly affecting first single "Gun Has No Trigger" was released in a limited vinyl edition that has the lyrics, translated into Sumerian Akkadian cuneiform, etched on the flipside.) It's not like Dirty Projectors have suddenly made a pop record, but songs like "Maybe That Was It" put their experimental tendencies in a more accessibly melodic context, and the "You're my love and I want you in my life" chorus of "Impregnable Question" is as close as the band has ever gotten to an old-fashioned love song. Swing Lo Magellan proves that it's possible for an experimentally-minded band to evolve toward simplicity without coming close to selling out or dumbing down their music.
|Gun Has No Trigger|