Feb 23, 2017 Web Exclusive
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Calling Dirty Projectors an experimental band, as they are commonly labeled, tells us everything and nothing about output ranging from obscure cultural references to guitar driven art rock. Now onto their self-titled eighth album, they appear to have gone full-circle, practically a David Longstreth solo project once more following departures that have had a lasting impact in more ways than one. Gone also is the heavier sound, replaced with loops and glitches, and a soulful insular focus, though the eclectic mix of styles and complex intellectualism of previous records remains, alongside raw emotion.
In amongst references as diverse as Descartes and Kanye West sit a series of songs dissecting the break-up of Longstreth's relationship with former band member Amber Coffman. The overall arc finds light at the end, but not before a lot of bleak introspection. The tolling of bells kicks things off, and it goes downhill from there. Standout track "Death Spiral" twitches and jolts towards a conclusion declaring "our love is in a spiral, a death spiral" while "Up in Hudson" laments "love's gonna rot, love's gonna dissipate" as percussion takes over.
Longstreth then, has not been a happy man. Complex layered production and funky beats jump off in different directions mixing autotune with tracked voices, everything zeroing back in on the trauma of love lost and love obliterated. So overwrought is the subject matter, songs sometimes wander off on their own, slipping moorings to become extended electronic jams, but Longstreth, as much slack as he allows in the leash, usually pulls it back in time.
And there is hope down the line, closer "I See You" declaring "I will remain proud and glad you were in my life." This is musical therapy at its best: smart, confident, and yes, experimental. (www.dirtyprojectors.net)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 7/10
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