Album Review: Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan, Domino Records

Swing Lo Magellan

After listening to Swing Lo Magellan, the new album from Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors, I’ve finally realized what makes this band so darn good. On any given day, the band has up to three distinct features at their disposal, and each one is on perfect display throughout this new record. So after multiple listens, here’s what I’ve decided makes these projectors sound so dirty. First, there’s a never-ending range of influences the group incorporates into their sound. Their music is like a barrage of different elements molded together into one weird but tasty stew. The ingredients might sound a little strange, like a flavor overload, but have no fear because this stuff is downright delicious. Second, despite your opinion of them, one cannot deny the fact that Dirty Projectors have an obscure yet unique way of employing harmony to enhance the vocal strengths of their singers. The voices of Amber Coffman, Haley Dekle, and Olga Bell blend together beautifully alongside lead singer and guitarist David Longstreth’s own quirky singing style, creating something I don’t think any other band could replicate. Third, even though Longstreth’s lyrics may not read so well on paper, they sound damn good when combined with the music. His vocabulary is impeccable at times, and there are moments throughout Swing Lo Magellan where the words he strings together fit in perfectly with his signature croon. It’s not the greatest voice in rock history, but Longstreth’s lyrics add a bizarre layer of class to the weirdness that is this group. By the time you get to the song “Just from Chevron,” it’s clear that this is a very welcoming album, even if the music borders on the absurd. It’s loose, roomy, and free in places where you’d think it’d be bogged down by the weight of it all. This had been an issue for the band before, but don’t be afraid now. In fact, hurry up and come in right away. It’s surprisingly cozy in here. (Domino Records) by Zach Rogers