Dirty Projectors – Dirty Projectors Review 

The beauty of a breakup album is the way different artists interpret their emotions and the way they channel them through their music. For example, Ryan Adams embedded his heartache into simplistic country ballads and harrowing lyricism into last month’s tracklist. David Longstreth, however, has proved that every cloud does have a silver lining in Dirty Projectors’ self-titled 8th LP; a rippling push of retro distortions that very inversely delivers his anguish.

This anguish stems from Longstreth’s breakup with girlfriend and former bandmate Amber Coffman. Little Bubble wholly embodies this, relaying the sweet memories of the relationship via hazy warps that undeniably feel like a sad and sorry lapse into a bleak state. These contorted notions define the album: Work Together’s finds its greatest asset in blatant switches in vocal style and its deep synth bass, while Winner Take Nothing prides itself upon a soft shuffle that aligns itself with the sometimes-slightly-off-piste vocals. This is actually a really intelligent technique, as this, alongside the despondent narration and amalgam of synths, add a touch of self-consciousness to what would superficially be a fairly up-beat pop number. This album is infused with several hidden depths like this that injects it with much more appeal.

The R&B effort lends itself greatly to this experimental album. Ascent to the Clouds is hoisted by a riff that would not be out of place on 2012’s offering Swing Lo Magellan, yet the oscillating misshapen vocals give it a completely different style. This is before it lurches into a melding of scattered synths and pitchy vocals, and then back to Longstreth’s singing backed by other ethereal voices. Tender jazz has also been instilled here and there, from the twinkly entrance to Work Together, to the vivid horns on Up In Hudson; a compassionate telling of a relationship from beginning to end. I also really enjoy songs such as I See You, which goes relatively unedited in terms of Longstreth’s lead, but supported by the dreaminess of an organ and yearning backing vocals; as I said, Ryan Adams’ breakup album was mainly simplistic ballads – I See You is a reinvention of this kind of ballad, given sizzle in the electronic undertone but brought back down to earth in the authentic lead vocals and raw message. This track is truly a beautiful closer to the LP, beginning with the dark “heaven knows we’ve been to hell”, to the optimistic “There’ll be other lovers”. It rounds up the solemn messages explored throughout the tracklist, and gives it a hopeful full stop.

Dirty Projectors investigational piece has definitely paid off. Each song is exciting and different, giving a new take on both their traditional discography and twenty-first-century indie music everywhere.

Dirty Projectors – Dirty Projectors: 8/10

Eleanor Chivers

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