SWING LO MAGELLAN (Domino Recordings)
Having turned Black Flag’s Damaged into a lost-highlife classic on Rise Above and strung together vocally-acrobatic avant-R’n’Indie on the immensely satisfying Bitte Orca, Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors have crafted their most direct, formally constrained record yet, and the results are really quite special. Lead vocalist/songwriter Dave Longstreath has described it as, ‘an album of songs, an album of songwriting,’ and it’s easy to see what he means: the band jump from West-Coast pastoral folk (the title track) to Walkmen style baroque-rock (Impregnable Question) and Arthur Russell at his most lo-fi (Irresponsible Question) to woozy ambience (See What She Seeing) whilst never losing sight of the importance of the beloved verse/chorus/verse structure. As we’ve come to expect by now, the vocal interplay between Longstreath and Amber Coffmann is a constant delight, the instrumentation is paradoxically simple, and though it might not hit individual highs of Temecula Sunrise or Police Story from earlier releases, Swing Lo Magellan feels more cohesive, more indicative of a band who know exactly what they want from themselves.
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Words: Josh Baines