Dirty Projectors' Swing Lo Magellan: A First Listen

By BYARD DUNCAN

Out this week is Swing Lo Magellan, the third full-length from arty Brooklyn six-piece Dirty Projectors. Given the heaps of both acclaim and disdain inspired by the band's last effort, Bitte Orca, we're interested to see if this new one continues the polarizing pattern. Let's give it a spin and find out.

“Offspring Are Blank”

A careful layering of instrumentation — just crisp handclaps at first, followed by three or four tracks of David Longstreth's baying vocals, followed by those lusciously precise “oohs” and “aaays” — introduces a tone of sparseness to the album. That sparseness is diddled around with for about one and a half minutes, then skewered by Dirty Projectors' other sonic identity: restless, off-kilter fuzz rock. Pulled between these two extremes, the song takes on the sort of manic intensity you'd see if you strapped a jet engine to a go-kart and asked a caffeinated chimp to take 'er for a spin around the block. To detractors, this is already strong evidence that Dirty Projectors have released yet another, hyper-white weenie rock album disguised as “Art.” For the rest of us, it's a positively bitching start.

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