It is a classic story: Indie band hover on the horizon, build a steady fanbase then finally cross into deeper mainstream success with an earth-shattering, high-profile release. Most times, there are classic benchmarks along the way: key festival performances, celebrity endorsements and early critical champions. (See: Arcade Fire, Death Cab For Cutie, Modest Mouse, et al.) But what is notable about that steady rise to fame--evidenced here in the new Dirty Projectors album, Bitte Orca--is for everyone who apes ingenuity in their drive to the spotlight, few deliver.
Thankfully, Bitte Orca is a textured, bizarre and welcomed reinvention of the genre. “Fluorescent Half Dome” finds vocalist David Longstreth crooning between Phil Collins-esque drum fills--dry, thin and airy. Gone is the precious, faux-gypsy yodeling that plagued previous releases. Instead we find a band confident in their groove and well aware of rock history. The record continues to pass at a clip. Filled with subtle references to the Sea & Cake’s neo-jazz (“Remade Horizon”), a healthy obsession with Paul Simon (“Two Doves”), Peter Gabriel (“No Intention”) and their respective pop takes on West African and Eastern motifs. But this is no fly-by-night post-modern mash-up; Bitte Orca is as confident, distinct and deserving a chapter in pop annals as anything released in recent history. (DOMINO) David T. Lewis
GO DOWNLOAD: “Fluorescent Half Dome”