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Dirty Projectors


Dirty Projectors new self-titled album is highbrow and perfectly formed; measured and methodical in structure and timing, yet also rebellious, emotional and radical.  To say the album is diverse would be an understatement. It is cerebral, lateral and wide ranging in sound, sense and genre. It ranges rap, worldbeat, R&B, soul, contemporary classical, art rock and electronic art pop.

The album is, like so many other great albums, an anthology of love, with the lyrics clearly detailing the journey of heartbreak and everything that goes with it, and despite its computer reliance, it is hugely raw and emotional; like looking inside someone’s mind and heart and watching the cogs turn, click and break.

The album opens with the sorrowful Keep Your Name in which frontman Dave Longstreth discloses “I don’t know why you abandoned me,” and sates “I use art to find the truth,” which in a way is the concept of the album. The next song is Death Spiral in which Longstreth declares “it’s a race to the bottom” – the tracks together both detailing the immediate aftermath of his break up with former bandmate Amber Coffman and the downward spiral that usually engulfs two people who can’t make their love work.

Up In Hudson and Work Together are less melodic and more jarring – they sound like what confusion and anger would sound like if you could encapsulate it.

Little Bubble is a return to the softer sphere of electronic pop as Longstreth reminisces about the universe he and his love created: “morning rays of light like champagne, filter through into our room”. He also delves into how he misses it: “morning… there is no moon glass here anymore, I’m alone in the October cold. Century of emptiness”. It’s refreshing to hear such honest and confessional lyrics from someone who has come across, let’s face it, as pretentious and exclusive.

Winner Take Nothing and Ascent Through Clouds really display the band’s experimental roots. Both tracks are diverse and complex, somehow being both delicate and jarring; sharp and tender; dense and atmospheric.

Cool Your Heart features female vocals from DWN as well as African drumming and global rhythms – seeming to end the album on a brighter and more positive note.

Final track I See You is an ode to love and art,  complete with grinding organs and church bells – of course. It’s a song of closure for Longstreth and the album, with Longstreth declaring, “I believe that the love we made is the art,” which sounds like someone who has found their truth.

The constant twitchings and thuddings through most tracks are reminiscent of a human’s inner workings; the repetitive thoughts you can’t get rid of, the constant niggling feelings of dread, fear, retrospect and anger that plague and hamper a broken heart and a confused mind. It’s a genius touch from Longstreth.

Although the songs are busy, and they really are, there is also space where there needs to be, and the tracks are so jam-packed with big hip hop beats and funky tempo that you can’t help but tap your feet– making it actually quite accessible.

Some might find the endless density of visceral sounds to be an assault on the senses, overly reliant on computers or confusing, and the album can definitely be criticised for trying to do too much. Though the polarising views that the album is destined to receive are exactly its point, it’s not for everyone because it wasn’t made for everyone.

The album is uncompromising and unapologetic in vision, it is highly individualistic – made with one purpose – to better understand. And surely this is the point of art? To enables us to see ourselves and our environment more clearly? This echoes the lyrics “I use art to find the truth” – and the album really does feel like a beautiful and defying voyage into truth and understanding, and as such, should be cherished.



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