About to Die EP
Dec 20, 2012 Web Exclusive
Dirty Projectors' songwriter David Longstreth is reported to have written "70 new songs and beats" during the recording process for their wonderful 2012 release Swing Low Magellan. It therefore comes as some surprise that a quarter of the About to Die EP—admittedly on this 12-minute record, that's just one song—is recycled from the earlier album and leads naturally to questions of the discarded tracks' value. While "About to Die" is a good song, with its Caribou-gone-Afrobeat rhythm section, surely those listening to this record don't need reacquainting.
To judge by the rest of the EP though, it would be a shock to find that Longstreth was capable of writing a bad track. There's a tender simplicity to the group's work in the last year that's in stark contrast to earlier records such as Bitte Orca: the highlight "While You're Here" is a tribute to late TV on the Radio bass player Gerard Smith, backed only by beautiful strings that fall apart and swell back together. Lyrics such as "The sun is shining/The sky is vibrant/My friend is rising and shining again" have the same kind of universality that makes up the wider appeal of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here."
The title of the closing track "Simple Request" hints at the sound of the two new remaining tracks. Both are aesthetically and lyrically very much in the mould of Swing Low Magellan, which means they will have a broad appeal to indie pop fans, but it also means that those for whom Dirty Projectors' appeal is their complexity and the WTF? factor—after all, this is a band that has collaborated with David Byrne—may find About to Die worthy and enjoyable, yet unfamiliarly hollow. (www.dirtyprojectors.net)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 4/10