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11 July 2012

Dirty Projectors - 'Bitte Orca' (Domino)

How timely to alphabetically stumble across this, just as their latest release, Swing Lo, Magellan is hitting the street and likewise the critical sphere. I'm unabashedly in love with Bitte Orca, which stroked the perfect apex between brainy broken pomo constructions and sweet folk-pop songs. The earlier releases I heard, Gettysburg Address and Rise Above I found to be curious experiments but lacking something to sink my teeth into; my jury is still out on Swing Lo, Magellan though there's a few gems for sure. But this one, wow! Somehow it all adds up, though my highlights are the ones where something tangible emerges - some fragments of feeling, or just a few tears. 'Two Doves' is my absolute favourite, a song that pulls real pain out of it's string arrangements and fragile construction. Much can be made of Dave Longstreth and his deconstruction techniques, but a line like 'But our bed is like a failure' transcends everything, It's probably the most conventional cut on here, but that's not to say I don't like the unraveling guitar licks; 'Remade Horizon' and 'Temecula Sunrise' are axe-shredders that do something amazing I've never quite figured out. The female vocalists go a long way to making this a record I enjoy so much, though the single 'Stillness Is the Move' never did anything for me. I don't mind it's influence of top-40 pop - why is that such a bad thing for so-called art rock to embrace? -- but the tune feels too detached from the organic core of Bitte Orca. 'Flourescent Half Dome', the album closer, took me a long time to warm up to, but when I finally did I found an insecurity in the open, loose steps that truly appealed to me. I suspect I might grow to love Swing Lo, Magellan equally or greater than this with time, so expect to see it in Dislocated Underbite iteration #2, coming (at this rate) in 2023 or so.

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