Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Dirty Projectors - Rise Above

The Dirty Projectors
Rise Above
(09.2007, Dead Ocean)

I am reviewing this album in the wake of The Dirty Projectors super superb live show last week with supporter Yacht. Let me just preface this with my absolute adoration of that show. Dave Longstreth and Co. (two female backing vocalists and a nuts/incredible new drummer) absolutely tore the house down. The crew played mostly new songs from Rise Above while dipping into last years strong New Attitude EP. It is pretty hilarious that most of the people in attendance probably had little idea that most of the songs being played were, in fact, inspired by Black Flag. That’s right, I can't avoid mentioning it, Rise Above is a "re-imagination" of Black Flag's influential punk rock opus Damaged. For a band whose last full length album was an ode to Don Henley, the new inspiration is evidence of a new chapter to the Dirty Projector's sound (as is common of all of Longstreth's works). At the same time, for someone who translates Don Henley into hyper indie glitch opera, Longstreth's Rise Above isn't anything close to its originally imagined counterpart and still traceably The Dirty Projectors. Rise Above carries dueling choral acrobatics from the new Dirty Projector girls (who also handle bass and an additional guitar on the record) which wind around Dave Longstreth's signature elastic vocal chords. The instrumentation, though straight forward guitar-guitar-bass-drums, requires the standard string of abstract genre qualifiers that attend the description of any Dirty Projectors release. My personal equation goes something like this: soft baked seventies sleaze rock as served by a gypsy choral group with manic ADHD. Obviously there aren't enough good descriptors. Everything about this record is inherently 'Dirty Projectors' except two thing: accessibility and consistency. While past albums have been unquestionably ingenious none have transpired to be completely listenable from front to back. I can't even really identify why this was the case for previous albums and not Rise Above but it's the cold fact none the less. Rise Above is a peak among peaks and the perfect addition to an already beautiful back catalog. Dave Longstreth and The Dirty Projectors have gone the extra mile to make something truly essential in 2007. (Make sure to check the videos below. Absolutely beautiful!)


1 comment:

machu pichu said...

those videos are amazing.
it would be fun to do that kind of thing.