Boomkat Product Review:
Dirty Projectors cough up the canniest indie-pop album in ages with an eponymous, R&B-soaked anomaly practically making a mockery of those indie guitar bands who still continue to ply worthless, played-out pop conventions.
As possibly the one band who can claim mutual connections between Kanye, Rihanna, Paul McCartney, Solange, Blood Orange and Björk, the credentials of Dirty Projectors are peerless at the least, and this, their 8th full length album proves why their experimental song-writing and instrumental talents are sought out by the biggest selling artists in the world.
It’s basically down to the way they acknowledge and consolidate the influence of modern Black soul and pop music as much as folk, chamber music and avant-garde electronic traditions in their compositions, and in a way that is blithely refused by those guitar bands who continue to churn out the same ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ’80s-inspired pop styles without realising that each and every one of them is rooted in one form of Black music or another, but gets lost in consecutive translations.
We’d wager it’s a sign of the cleft between majors run by crusty posh old white dudes, and what clued-up younger people actually want to listen to (same difference with Trump/insecure right wing doyles and everyone else, really?). Maybe this isn’t the place for politics but this record seems to embody our current feelings in the best, most relevant way right now, and it'd be remiss to ignore it.
From the eager use of autotune (taken to throat-curdling effect in Keep Your Name) to the ruggedness of their drum programming (like vintage Timba in Death Spiral) to an oil-shimmer mix of G-funk and Americana in Little Bubble or the delicate yet rude pivot of Winner Take Nothing, which could almost be a Disclosure cut; their sense of twisted ridiculousness may be taken as piss-taking by some, when it’s actually a very necessary level of extremity needed to shock and wake the scene from its utterly regressive indulgence and dearth of new ideas.
And most crucially, it’s done with a balance of faithful respect and honesty toward the strangeness and psychedelia of their art form, like, say Autre Ne Veut or Clams Casino (for good examples of respectful but uncompromising appropriation) as opposed to the limpid, simpering pish you'll find elsewhere.
In other words it’s highly engaging, challenging and satisfying in equal measures, and all because they got the balance right. A rare thing indeed for contemporary pop from an “indie” band.