Dirty Projectors: Rise Above
Over three full lengths, an EP, and five different live bands in four years, David Longstreth has created in Dirty Projectors a body of music of original and variegated beauty. The breadth of his talents as a songwriter, arranger, bandleader and singer call to mind Prince, Joni Mitchell, and Bjork. His constantly evolving sound — both live and on record — the sheer intensity of the music, and the originality of his voice set him apart. Among modern music makers, he is a maverick: a loner and a rebel. From beginning to end, Dirty Projectors' new offering, Rise Above, is a reimagining of Black's Flag seminal 1981 record Damaged. It is not a covers record. Longstreth attempted to rewrite his favorite adolescent album word for word, from memory. A concept so lofty might just be hot wind if Rise Above weren't such a hell of a record on its own terms. It resounds with a kind of elegant simplicity: beautiful interlocking guitar parts, gorgeous three-part vocal harmonies, and some great songwriting. Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear manned the knobs, giving Rise Above the same rich sound that he brought to his own band’s acclaimed album Yellow House. Longstreth used the same musicians that appeared on the US tour on which he debuted these songs, and Rise Above captures the inventiveness and raw power of Dirty Projectors' live arrangements at long last.