It’s been three years since Dirty Projectors’ big LP Bitte Orca and their long-anticipated record Swing Lo Magellan was finally released in July. Aside from a couple collaborations with other bands including a featuring of guitarist Amber Coffman in Major Lazer’s single “Get Free,” Dirty Projectors have had a considerable amount of time to think over their newest material … and it shows. Period. I don’t just mean that it’s a good album. They have once again moved in a new direction, giving their music a fresh new feel. Most noticeable is the overwhelming emphasis on vocals in this album, notably on the album’s single “Gun Has No Trigger.” The intro offers a handclap and harmonic humming to start, nothing more. Eventually, it dissolves into a straight-up rock chorus, distorted guitar, crash symbols and all, epitomizing the drastic transitions that have become one of the band’s trademarks and certainly don’t stop at this album. The second track “About to Die” maintains rather unorthodox percussion and time signatures, as is tradition for the band as well. “Swing Lo Magellan,” the centerpiece and possibly the climax of the album, is a stripped down acoustic ballad in which frontman David Longstreth’s voice and guitar resemble Lou Reed, almost reminiscent of “Sunday Morning.” The album is fluid yet demonstrates perfectly the countless number of influences Dirty Projectors draw from when writing their music. The only qualm I have with this album is its disappointing length of half an hour. Still, it certainly leaves me wanting more and for that I am thankful. Swing Lo Magellan is, without a doubt, just as ambitious as Bitte Orca was praised for being -if not more- and it pays off.
WGBK RATING: 8 out of 10