The last album by the Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca, was my third favorite album of 2009 (behind Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion and Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II). The first time I heard the opening track “Cannibal Resource,” I knew that the album was a tremendous achievement by a band that hadn't impressed me too much with their previous work. I didn’t get that feeling listening to Swing Lo Magellan. Angel Deradoorian left the group prior to the making of the album, and I initially thought that losing one of the three female vocalists weakened their harmonies. The songs that were either led by or prominently featured these singers were the standout tracks on Bitte Orca, but on Swing Lo the two remaining vocalists, Amber Dekle and Haley Coffman, are sorely underutilized. The band has also been on moving steadily toward a more accessible sound over their last few albums, and much of Swing Lo is basically a slightly off-kilter folk record, which is fine but isn’t really my thing. Overall, my main problem with the record was that unlike Bitte Orca, I just didn’t really have much of an urge to return to the album, and I hadn’t listened to it at all since early July. Revisiting the album this week, I think I may have made a mistake. There’s nothing on Swing Lo that matches the transcendence of “Stillness is the Move,” but the album is a collection of subtle pleasures that I’ve been growing into since reconsidering it. I’m pretty sure this album would have made the top 25 if I had spent more time with it.
Dirty Projectors - "Gun Has No Trigger"