Swing Lo Magellan (Domino)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Sept. 14, 2012
Dirty ProjectorsSwing Lo Magellan (Domino)
High art concepts executed with tyrannical precision: 2005's The Getty Address recounts an Aztec vision quest in search of Don Henley; 2007's Rise Above reimagines Black Flag's hardcore classic Damaged; and 2010's Mount Wittenberg Orca weaves eccentricities with Björk. On Swing Lo Magellan, head Projectionist David Longstreth finally loosens his grip on the loose Brooklyn assemblage, trading in complexity for immediacy. Reportedly culled from 40 demos, the resulting 12-track offers a grab bag of progressive British-folk in the title track, plus indie soul ("Dance for You"), warped rock ("Maybe That Was It"), and something resembling a ballad ("Impregnable Question"). It's not a complete departure; opener "Offspring Are Blank" spins an abstract narrative reminiscent of Longstreth's early work but with a blown-out chorus, while "About To Die" maintains the mathematical R&B of critical breakthrough Bitte Orca. Ultimately, Dirty Projectors has never done so much with so little, a rare feat reiterated by the disarming, insistent standout, "Gun Has No Trigger."