Dirty Projectors – Lamp Lit Prose
David Longstreth's Dirty Projectors return with a terrifically upbeat album full of hopeful lyrics and bold, brassy arrangements
David Longstreth returns with a selection of du jour indie favourites less than eighteen months after last year's essentially solo, self-titled effort. Where that album was a somewhat lachrymose reflection that considered, and was in response to Longstreth's break-up with former bandmate Amber Coffman, Lamp Lit Prose is terrifically upbeat for the most part, with hopeful lyrics and bold, brassy arrangements.
Opening track, Right Now features Syd (of The Internet) and contains pitch-shifted vocals, blaring horns and some gently plucked Spanish guitar in the first minute alone, and only gets better from there. Along with the subsequent two songs, Break-Thru and That's a Lifestyle, this is one of the strongest opening stretches you're likely to hear this year. First single Break-Thru doubles down on Longstreth's idiosyncracies with references as varied as Kanye, Archimedes and Fauvism, but gives a sense of real, honest joy throughout ('She is an epiphany / Her electricity opens my days...'). That's a Lifestyle is less ambiguous in its take-down of elitism and materialism, using a Dylan-esque series of rhetorical questions, but still sounds fantastic.
Elsewhere, Empress Of provides a solid backing on Zombie Conqueror (a song that jumps from delicate acoustic guitar to Jack White-ish skronk and back again), Rostam and Robin Pecknold bring a beautiful harmony to You're the One and Amber Mark amps up the unabashed poptimism of I Feel Energy. But the real star of the show is Longstreth, who gels marvellously with both the guests and the new Dirty Projectors line-up (of whom Nat Baldwin is the only previous member). While this album could be characterised as a return to 'normality' for Dirty Projectors, such a label has no bearing on a group this relentlessly imaginative; a creative rebirth would be more accurate.
Listen to: Right Now, Break-Thru, That's a Lifestyle