At some point in the past half decade, David Longstreth collided with heartbreak and was left with two choices: give in or find a way out. His relationship with ex-Projector Amber Coffman suddenly ended and the band he once knew withered into fragments of loneliness, sessions with Solange (2016’s A Seat At The Table) and Joanna Newsom (2015’s Divers), and a fractured break-up album that shares nothing in common with Bitte Orca. The self-titled affair could have been a catalyst for moody, white guy sadness but over the course of 48 minutes, Longstreth plugs into a VR port of 808s & Heartbreak. He admits guilt, feels remorse, and discloses pain (“In losing you, I lost myself”), and he does it all against a backdrop of electronic experimentation.
At its core, Dirty Projectors is Longstreth’s most expansive record to date. It takes the writing prowess of Swing Lo Magellan and gives it a new coat as there’s nods to FutureSex (“Death Spiral”), breezy dancehall glitches (“Cool Your Heart”), operatic-meets-tragic ballads (“Little Bubble”), and seven-minute anecdotes that counter introspection with horns that will staple your heart to the wall (“Up In Hudson”). Every twist and turn is “classic Projectors” in its own weird way and while it’s overwhelming at times, Longstreth’s ability to pocket heartache and make it immersive — through pitched-down vocals and disturbing sample loops of old material — is second to none. It’s a byproduct of self-crisis and despair, but it’s Grade A ear candy.
Best Tracks: “Winner Takes Nothing”, “Cool Your Heart”, “Up In Hudson”