I have a confession to make. Back in 2009, when the Dirty Projector‘s critically-lauded and all-around amazing breakthrough album Bitte Orca came out – I initially did not get it. I was confused. I thought it was obtuse and weird. I might have hated it.
It was only around my fourth or fifth play-through that I started coming around on it and saw the genius behind the album. But then that’s usually how it goes with most great albums. They are great because they challenge you. Because there’s always something new for you to discover.
So it is with great pride that I say that I fell in love with the Dirty Projector‘s newest offering, Swing Lo Magellan upon first listen. Maybe maybe I got used to the Dirty Projector‘s sound from listening so much to their last record (Bitte Orca was my first Projectors exposure) or maybe because Swing Lo Magellan is a tiny bit less weird than its predecessor (Magellan is, in a way, an extension and a refinement of Bitte Orca), but whatever the reason, I really, really loved the new album.
The Dirty Projectors have always centered around band leader, lead vocalist, and genius polymath songwriter Dave Longstreth and Swing Lo Magellan is valid proof of this. The band has always had a shifting line-up and the current incarnation might have lost popular members Brian McOmber (replaced by Mike Johnson) and temporarily, Angel Deradoorian (on hiatus) from it’s definitive Bitte Orca line-up, but the songs in Magellan never suffered for it. Backed ably by Nat Baldwin’s omnipresent bass and the strong harmonies of Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle, Longstreth’s chameleon-like vocals and superior song-crafting shines through in Magellan.
It is hard to characterize the type of music that the Dirty Projectors do (something like classical folky R&B with dueling harmonies?) but one thing is always for certain – the songs always challenge you and they are always uniformly amazing. Swing Lo Magellan is just the latest incarnation of this fact. This is a great, great record. Don’t miss it.
Check out the colorful video for the fantastic first single Gun Has No Trigger below. This is currently my favorite song in my playlist.
The Dirty Projectors are coming to St Louis on 7/17 to play at the Pageant, along with another amazing band, Wye Oak, opening for them. This is a show that you must attend. (tickets here)
Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan comes out 7/10 via Domino (order here)