David Longstreth is done writing about the past. Where Dirty Projectors’ eponymous record reflected on his relationship with former bandmate Amber Coffman, their ninth full-length offers up an optimistic look to the future of the group.
‘Lamp Lit Prose’ is alarming buoyant. There’s a consistent euphoria to it, reminiscent of Arcade Fire or Vampire Weekend’s early cuts. The first single from the record, ‘Break-Thru’, couldn’t be more fitting. That’s not to say he’s entirely let go; there’s familiarity in his yelping vocal on ‘That’s A Lifestyle’, but the rest of the record is a rebirth.
‘I Feel Energy’ is particularly jubilant – despite the intricacies of the production, it’s the album’s big banger, and feels truly primal in how it urges you to dance. Even tracks like ‘Zombie Conqueror’, that begin more sombre, thrust you into something much heavier thirty seconds in.
There’s a sweetness to the second half of the record. The trio of love songs, ‘Blue Bird’, ‘I Found It In U’ and ‘What Is The Time’, provide entirely different vibes while maintaining the naivety of first love.
The tracklist provides an impressive set of collaborators, each one utilised well without letting you forget David’s vision. Syd brings a softness to the vibrant horns and distorted vocals of opener ‘Right Now’, Empress Of does the same on ‘Zombie Conqueror’, adding layered harmonies to an otherwise abrasive tune. Amber Mark is almost the star of the show on ‘I Feel Energy’, but the horns take centre stage.
As Longstreth croons on ‘You’re The One’, “change is the only constant law”, and switching up their sound hasn’t hurt. ‘Lamp Lit Prose’ might be one of Dirty Projectors’ more accessible ventures, but that doesn’t stop it being brilliant. Sometimes the glass-half-full approach is the best.