Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan (Domino Records; 2012)
By Matthew Law“Just too obscure”
After about two minutes listening to Swing Lo Magellan confusion set in. After around six minutes, boredom set in. After around ten minutes it feels as if you are stoned on Lucky Charms. It is a strangely psychedelic album, yet the songs sound similar to something off of Sesame Street.
Dirty Projectors released their first album The Graceful Fallen Mango in 2002. This, their seventh album, mixes elements of experimental and alternative rock to create an album which, frankly, is as painful as an invasive examination of the urethra.
On the opening track “Offspring are Blank” David Longstreth”s voice is perfectly decent, but his singing style is gimmicky and annoying. On following tracks when he, thankfully, doesn”t sing that way, the songs are ruined anyway by poor backing vocals and/or percussion that does not fit with the overall style of the singing, such as loud handclapping, or drum noises that sound like they have just come straight off of a Yamaha keyboard.
At times there are some bright sparks, mostly when one of the female members of the band is singing, and when the instrumental sections are simple. Now, I don”t know, maybe these guys are complicated and philosophical, but to me the lyrics are absurd and unintelligible at times. They sound like they were constructed by a blind orang-utan picking random words from the dictionary and La maggior parte di voi avra gia provato almeno una volta a giocare ad una slot machine aams tra quelle disponibili nei casino online italiani. throwing them into a sentence.
Maybe this is cruel, but the album is just too obscure. Obscure to the point that the impression it leaves is that they are just using these weird instrumental sections and lyrics simply to stand out from other artists, unlike, for example, Frank Zappa, who used unusual melodies and lyrics to make a statement or to give his songs undertones that criticised certain social norms.
Although, as I have previously said, the singing by the female members is very strong and enjoyable. It is similar to the vocal sound of Warpaint, and is dramatic and soft. This, combined with the obvious talent these guys have, makes this album disappointing. They clearly have the technical ability to create a good record, but they are hampered by their apparent desire to be different from everyone else.