REVIEW: Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

A bit of a change of pace finds me reviewing a rock album.  You may have read some of my many write ups involving electronic music, but our wonderful music editor DJ Run P has tasked me with this one and it is great.  Experimental rockers “Dirty Projectors‘” released their latest effort back on July 10th.  Experimental is the key word here as they truly excel at producing myriads of great rock sounds.

On the opening track “Offspring Are Blank” (preview video below), for instance, I heard some great distorted power chords that meshed well with a deep bass hip hop beat at times.

Continuing the almost encyclopedic run through of genres, the title track is a stripped down acoustic number where I had to continuously remind myself that I wasn’t listening to a Bob Dylan song.  “The Socialites” was a favorite of mine that had a wonderful soulful feel with a tremendous vocal performance by Angel Deradoorian.  I definitely loved the electronic synth blips on this one which made it into a light and airy poppy song.  “Unto Caesar” had a  great soulful southern sound which caught me totally off guard.

During other moments I couldn’t help but be reminded of Vampire Weekend’s sound, and with good reason since Ezra Koenig was involved with Dirty Projectors in its earlier years.  A great review by the Guardian even mentions that Koenig learned about the use of that folk/African sound Weekend uses so well from Projectors’ founder and frontman David Longseth.

Throughout most of the songs there are some crazy off beats with guitars and/or drums and it’s just very abstract stuff.  Other than the Vampire Weekend mention, it was difficult to compare the band to anyone else as they seem to produce a completely unique sound encompassing many different elements.  Although at times they produce some very beautiful sounds that you want to hear again, but I think that is the problem since you don’t hear them again.  Overall it was an enjoyable listening experience, but you can really tell that Longseth really enjoys throwing a lot of sounds against the proverbial wall to see what will stick.