Review: Dirty Projectors, "Little Bubble"

After a knock-out comeback single, the Dirty Projectors' newest is a non-event.
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After a knock-out comeback single, the Dirty Projectors' newest is a non-event.

This started so egregiously: a thicket of unbearable reverb that eventually gives way to Dave Longstreth singing an thin tune - an extremely thin. Unlike previous single, "Keep Your Name", not everything changes.

You remember "Keep Your Name," right? I do: I thought it was one of the best songs of 2016, where a heartbroken Dave Longstreth — without the help of the colorful harmonies of either Deradoorian or Amber Coffman — made a song to compete with James Blake's The Colour of Anything or Frank Ocean's Blonde, and knocked it the fuck out of the park. A sample of "Impregnable Question" providing some of the oddest color detail; an out of nowhere (and yet, tonally fitting) detour into hip-hop inspired by Olga Bell.

Latest single "Little Bubble" is much less ambitious: the best I can say about this one is that it's saved by the choruses, wherein a string line rises above a hacking wind (my first thought was something like Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' "Hand Covers Bruise"). But then the first instance of the chorus just drops you into the next verse, which is that same thin tune, with bare instrumentation. A lazy drop.

Both songs suggest that Dirty Projectors' upcoming album — their first in five years — might mostly comprise of these glitchy, pitch-shifted ballads. Which is, of course, going to be a disappointment for anyone hoping for the harmonies that made the Dirty Projectors stand out in the past decade; a disappointment for anyone who hates the self-pity party of those sorts of albums that usually translates to lugubrious listens. Me, I think that Dave's capable of greatness, so this non-event hasn't thrown me off.