Album Review: Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

28 June 2012 | 1:43 pm | Bradley Armstrong

Nothing is a repeat performance; instead Swing Lo Magellan feels like an exotic new town you’ve never been to, but somehow all your friends live there.

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2009's Bitte Orca from Dirty Projectors was truly a highlight of the year, as well as an album that sent out a very organic and distinct indie sound that deservedly 'broke' the band. Three years on and they're back with the very different sounding yet familiar, Swing Lo Magellan.

Not wasting any time, Offspring Are Blank touches on …Orca's sound, but then throws things like classic rock guitar and an agitated and stupidly brilliant chorus line. The trademark harmonies are back in full force on the album, with the danceable pop of About To Die and lead single, Gun Has No Trigger.

Title track, Swing Lo Magellan, feels so much like Rust Never Sleeps era Neil Young that without Dave Longstreth's much less weathered voice it would be almost (naturally in a good way) confusing. Just From Chevron and Dance For You intertwine brilliantly together through clapping and have twitching guitar brilliance recalling …Orca's grooved up No Intention. You are then thrown curveballs like Maybe That Was It which feels bleak, then is followed up with the charm-pop of Impregnable Question. There is a laidback undercurrent throughout, with casual chatter and little musical quirks adorning a number of different tracks, making it feel at times complex. It's never pretentious however and a whole lot of fun. 

Longstreth wrote, produced and recorded everything for this release and the fruits of his labours are clear to see. Nothing is a repeat performance; instead Swing Lo Magellan feels like an exotic new town you've never been to, but somehow all your friends live there. Without a doubt a highlight of the year to date and an essential listen. 

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