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

This Weeks Music Video with Grimes feat. Janelle Monae, Kings of Leon, Chance The Rapper, M.I.A, Depeche Mode, Dirty Projectors, Goldfrapp and The Staves

Single Review – Dirty Projectors – Up In Hudson 

With the band having more or less disbanded and the project, Dirty Projectors, once again becoming a solo project under David Longstreth, it’s fair to say that this next album (the 8th one) has both a fair amount of anticipation and trepidation around it. The singles leading up to it’s February 24th release have been fuelled by his break-up with ex-Dirty Projectors vocalist Amber Coffman. Both on ‘Little Bubbles’ and ‘Keep Your Name’, beyond the silky smooth production is a raw emotion. On the former Longstreth reminisced about a time when the couple had their own ‘little bubble’ as well as the anguish caused by it’s popping; he sings, ‘I want to sleep with no dreams, I want to be dead’. This sentiment echoes through this single too. The bitterness of the chorus about ‘love burning out’ is offset by the verses which describe the pure elation of the love the couple had shared on first meeting. Even when the two go their separate ways they remain connected even if he’s driving through New York listening to Kanye and she’s in Echo Park ‘blasting 2pac’. The production is clearly more up-beat and eccentric compared to the previous two singles too, with more jazzy elements mixed in with the expected smooth and catchy electronics that Dirty Projector fans are accustomed to. With yet another intensely personal track (Longstreth even references the first time the two played together) with delicate and intricate lyrics as well as the superb production we’re accustomed to, the next Dirty Projector album is shaping up quite nicely. 

Callum Christie

Single Review – Dirty Projectors – Little Bubbles

The prolific Dirty Projectors embark on their 8th album this year, due to be dropped on the 24thFebruary 2017. In their previous seven efforts the band took influence from pretty much everywhere on the musical spectrum; as shown in the spectacular lo-fi single, Swing Lo Magellan or the epic ballad that is Stillness is the Move from their 2009, Bitter Orca. This single, coming just three months after Keep Your Name, which was clearly grounded in a recent divorce, Little Bubble seems to echo similar sentiments. Looking back on their time together, the lead singer David Longstreth reminisces in the idea that the couple had their ‘own little bubble, for a while’. The track doesn’t look away from the darker elements of this post-breakup anguish either as Longstreth sings that he ‘wants to sleep with no dreams, I want to be dead’. More consistent than Keep Your Name but perhaps less interesting musically, Little Bubbles, with its intricate and meaningful lyrics as well as it’s silky smooth production indicate that the self-titled album, may well be one of the best saddest albums to come out in 2017.

Callum Christie 

This Weeks Music Video with Nick Cave, Metallica, Tegan and Sara, Kings of Leon, New Order and Dirty Projectors