Under Review: Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca

I’ve made it no secret that I’m a fan of this album. When I talked about getting records way too far in advance, Bitte Orca stood out as an exception: it’s gotten better and better each time I’ve listened to it. With this album, the Dirty Projectors have exited their cocoon, blooming from a one-man project into a bona-fide band. While lead man Dave Longstreth is still the main focus, Bitte Orca features two songs that don’t feature him at all. It was an interesting choice to have the R&B-inflected, Amber Coffman-sung “Stillness Is The Move” as the album’s first single, but looking back, it’s probably the band’s most accessible tune so far. 2007’s re-working of Black Flag‘s Damaged as the Graceland-meets-Talking Heads ’77 LP that is Rise Above was my first exposure to the warped mind of Longstreth. That album, while ambitious was not nearly as tight a set as Bitte Orca, whose songs range from lovely acoustic chamber pieces (“Two Doves,” the other song not sung by Longstreth) and the group’s trademark Afropop-inspired freakouts (“Useful Chamber”). With only 9 songs, there’s barely room to take a breather let alone pile in filler tracks. Unfortunately, the brevity of the album means it’s over almost as soon as it begins. On the whole, I can’t stand it when people or media sites declare an album to be the year’s best long before the year nears its end. However, I would say that Bitte Orca will, without a doubt, rank pretty high on my list later this year. Take that, Grizzly Collective!

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~ by E. on June 15, 2009.

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