Dirty Projectors are a band that might be more famous for things other than their own music but ‘Dance For You’, the first single from their seventh studio album since frontman David Longstreth started the enterprise as a freshman at Yale, proves that there is more to the Brooklyn outfit than the peripheral material which, until a few weeks ago, made up the preponderance of my knowledge about the band. Almost three years ago, in November, 2009, I had my first run in with Dirty Projectors, footnoting an excited post about Beyonce’s younger sister’s sensationally funky ‘Stillness Is The Move’ cover with an attribution to ‘Brooklyn band the Dirty Projectors‘. Truth be told, when you have a Knowles sister jostling for the limelight with an awesome take on some band’s original, the cloud of obscurity hanging over said band tends to hang around. After Solange, the next time I heard of the Projectors was by virtue of lead vocalist Amber Coffman’s appearance on the newish, blissed-out Major Lazer track (whose Instagrammed, Jamaican-themed clip dropped today).
Essentially, then, all I knew of the Dirty Projectors was that a) they had a girl singer who did some very nice things with Diplo and b) they produced songs vaguely hip enough that a global superstar’s unfairly unheard of sibling might choose to cover them. Going on the social media taxonomy by which people tend to rate others Klout nowadays, those two factors alone probably should have led me to investigate Longstrenth’s band in the meantime but, as these things go, I never got around to it until hearing ‘Dance For You’ storming over the radio waves, gathering me up in the folds of its clap-happy, guitar-driven pop-rock and leaving me the far more educated and curious DP fan I am today. If it sounds like a variation on an AA story, that’s probably about right. ‘Dance For You’ has the kind of uplifting, intrinsically human and pleasant sound that might help wean someone off a substance abuse problem. For all that I’ve missed, too, the accessibility of this track recommends the Projectors as one ‘experimental rock’ outfit that doesn’t require you to check your notions of normalcy at the door, instead often embracing the pop side of things to fashion genuinely interesting, fun songs.
‘Dance For You’ particularly appeals to me not only for its newness but for the fact that while the ‘Brooklyn band’ label might send many running for the hills (as with Grizzly Bear’s psychedelic, typically offbeat (but no less great) ‘Sleeping Ute‘), Dirty Projectors, even seven albums into what is turning into a bit of a dream run (this latest, ‘Swing Lo Magellan’, scoring ‘universal acclaim’ on Metacritic), don’t necessarily look to blow your mind with every track. ‘Dance For You’ – apart from the section around 2′ where it breaks down into a sort of orchestral tuning orgy – is a fairly traditional song. If anything, that breakdown serves to redouble focus on the sweet lo-fi sounds that make up the rest of the song with guitars talking to each other across different stereo channels, pretty vocal flourishes and snares that keep the whole thing clipping along. In many ways, ‘Dance For You’ reminds me strongly of TV On The Radio but without the heavier, pseudo-existential overtones. Sitek without the seriousness, Grizzly Bear without the sometimes grizzly eccentricities. Accessible Brooklyn. Or something. Don’t pass up a chance like I did; let Dirty Projectors ‘Dance For You’.
Dirty Projectors – Dance For You