(Three-night residency) 7:30 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 1-3, at Starline Social Club (Oakland). $40; starlinesocialclub.com
Despite a prolific discography and a reputation for sharp inventiveness, Dirty Projectors’ leader Dave Longstreth not too long ago was forced to rethink what the band’s identity was. After encountering commercial and critical success with their now-iconic 2009 record Bitte Orca, Dirty Projectors entered a phase of seemingly nonstop touring. Pressure built to follow up their success, which they did remarkably well with 2012’s warm-hearted LP Swing Lo Magellan. Despite producing arguably their best material until that point, the group entered a dormant phase, spurred by a romantic breakup between Longstreth and longtime bandmate Amber Coffman. During the hiatus, Longstreth kept himself creatively engaged with other projects, working with Kanye West, Rihanna, and Paul McCartney on their collaborative single “FourFiveSeconds” and producing some cuts off Solange’s masterful record A Seat at the Table.
The break proved to work in Longstreth’s favor when it was time to reignite Dirty Projectors, now creatively re-energized by experimenting with new production techniques and culminating in the release of last year’s self-titled album, a soothingly honest reflection of past love expressed through shades of hazy R&B. Contrasting with the thematically dark and subdued nature of Dirty Projectors, the recently released Lamp Lit Prose is a colorful and buoyant antidote that hears a fierce Longstreth at the most ambitious and confident he has ever sounded, not hesitant to occasionally reward listeners with pop-driven hooks and tastefully curated guest musicians from Rostam to Empress Of.