Dirty Projectors share ‘Lamp Lit Rose’, an eccentric record homologous to their iconic 2009 album
It’s only been 18 months since the last album released by Dirty Projectors, and here we are again, presented with a brand new one from the experimental rock project led by David Longstreth. This time around, however, things don’t sound nearly as somber. In fact, long-time fans of this indie rock project might find a lot of similarities between this record and their magnificent 2009 release “Bitte Orca”, the album which caught the eyes and ears of music fans and critics alike nearly 10 years ago. This time around though, things are a lot different.
Firstly, the female vocalists of the group, Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian are not present on the album. With them being one of the key
components of the legendary 2009 album, it is obvious that “Lamp Lit Prose” carries only the sonic aesthetic and vibe, with new twists and numerous guest spots. Longstreth adds a lot of famous friends to the mix to add their unique voices and give variation to the tracklist. The first highlight of the project is the opener “Right Now”, featuring the sensual, breathy vocals of Syd from The Internet. Her chilled out delivery is a nice juxtaposition to Longstreth’s high and yelping delivery. It’s a blissful acoustic track that gives a nice start to a varied collection of songs. Another track that stands out is the single “That’s a Lifestyle”, which has slight political undertones and is the most “Bitte Orca”-sounding song on here. It brings a sense of familiar, and Longstreth’s vocal delivery is as strong as ever.
The song “I Feel Energy” is probably the liveliest song on the album, as it has a slight funkiness to it. Amber Mark’s voice only strengthens the impact one may feel whilst listening to the track. Also, according to Longstreth himself, there is a strange cricket sound buried in here that was sent to him by his former collaborator Bjork.“What is the Time” has a very old-school aesthetic to it, featuring amazing harmonies, bouncy guitar chords and very smooth jazzy piano stabs. It certainly sounds retro, in a very positive way. Definitely a standout on the latter half of the record. “Blue Bird” is a breezy spot that has a very calming sound and is the only song that sounds like it could be listened to at the beach, on a lazy summer afternoon.
While all these songs mentioned so far are quite admirable and uplifting, “Lamp Lit Prose” suffers from one major issue, and that is an abundance of corniness. The first instance of it is on the first single “Break-Thru”. While its instrumentation is superb, fresh and quite intriguing, the lyrics ruin the feel of the song. Longstreth offers a song about a girl that is so amazing to the point where he doesn’t shy away to give awkward-sounding shout-outs to Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, and even Archimedes and Fellini. The song “Zombie Conquerer” is also unremarkable and has its fair share of corniness. Another lukewarm moment comes in the form of “You’re the One” featuring Rostam and Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes. The guest stars do bring nice vocal harmonies to the mix, but overall the song is quite unremarkable and
forgettable. The closing track featuring Dear Nora is a very calm, but ultimately bland song that ends the album on a kind of a low note, not really adding to the overall vibe of the full project. “I Found it in U” is probably the least likable and interesting track of the bunch, and easily gets forgotten nearing the end of this record.
While this album seems very unfocused, it certainly has blissful and charming spots on it which may give fans a taste of what made the band so appealing ten years ago. Yes, it still sounds like music that a hipster shepherd may listen to whilst looking at a far away city from a hill, featuring David Longstreth’s eccentric vocal inflections and folky, mutated guitar playing. However, the rest of this album sounds like a mixed bag of ideas and just an indulgent collection of tracks that do not offer anything new or refreshing.
Key tracks: “Right Now”, “That’s a Lifestyle”, “I Feel Energy”, “Blue Bird”