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- Cargo, London »
- Dirty Projectors »
Withdrawn but not quite detached, Dave Longstreth’s vacant stare and awkward stage presence act as a somewhat immediate signal of what to expect from Dirty Projectors. The act’s most recent release, Rise Above, finds Longstreth rekindling the Black Flag affections of his youth, re-imagining Damaged having found an empty cassette case of the record at his parents' home. Structures remain but are deformed at the joints as Longstreth spits out the urgent punk that once sat in his skull as his own dislocated interpretation.
Conceptually Rise Above is brilliant, prompting flack from ’Flag afficiandos for warping Damaged out of shape and garnering attentions that have often eluded the act. However, as with previous ventures, Dirty Projectors can regularly be a struggle to involve yourself in. Every track shifts through phases as a seeming extension of Longstreth’s mind taking on other tangents. Despite this drifting approach, under the open stall of Cargo Longstreth’s wavering vocal and flitting song structures compulsively hold the attentions that they regularly struggle to keep hold of on record.
Through the wide array of influences the Brooklyn cohort incorporate, amid Brian Mcomber’s constantly transitional percussion, the avant-garde jazz leanings of the act come to the forefront, and although compositions are far from freeform, tracks splinter non-commitally. Longstreth’s quaking tone recalls Edwyn Collins’ melodramatic delivery, but also points a fat finger at Pere Ubu’s David Thomas, reverberating with the same demented resonance as violent staccato guitar laps underneath. Every Dirty Projectors track begins with the same mild-mannered introduction as riffs politely find their feet and tread on toes until they all seep into each other to hit a confident stride in their absurd pop posturing.
Despite the distinct differences between Rise Above and previous EP New Attitude, material from both features prominently this evening, with the set contentedly picking at both. Despite the often disposable roster that shifts round Longstreth since Dirty Projectors started in 2002, each member of the current ensemble provides an effective counterpoint against the act’s centrepiece performer, Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian both combining harmoniously as a pair of Eleanor Friedbergers.
Closing with the title track from Rise Above reaffirms that all too often material can come across unconvincingly as Longstreth occasionally struggles to hone the range he works on. But this meandering habit is half the appeal of Dirty Projectors. Though Henry Rollins never spouted the lines “We are tired of your abuse / Try and stop us it’s no use” with such whimsical earnestness, its recomposition remains peculiarly potent as pop bent out of fashion.
Deliriously set adrift, but not quite set apart.
_‘Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie’
‘New New Attitude’
‘Fucked For Life’
‘Thirsty And Miserable’
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