Dirty Projectors
Bitte Orca


3.5
great

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
March 20th, 2010 | 17 replies | 1,646 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "I was trying to widen the temperament of the band a little bit, to be Dirty Projectors but also have these new, different sort of flowers within the bouquet of the sound." lol

Just as all great experimental indie bands (see: Animal Collective) have done, Dirty Projectors have made a profession out of venturing into the depths of the avant-whatever while still throwing out shards of accessibility to lure more reluctant listeners. Without a doubt, frontman David Longstreth is the driving force behind this kind of gambit, acting as the band's main decision-maker. Ever since his 2002 bedroom-recordings debut The Graceful Fallen Mango, Longstreth has made a point to insert whatever prog impulses he feels like, without paying too much mind to the demands of his ostensibly small audience. The only thing that kept most of us listening was the fact that Longstreth's songwriting was also sporadically excellent, and his impulses sometimes delightful. Bitte Orca, maybe/maybe-not the 7th studio album in the band's confusing career, thankfully shows off more of the former and makes sure the latter is mostly used to the band's advantage.

As such, Bitte Orca is a exploration of great songwriting that is undercut by multiple irritants. First, there are the exasperating misrhythms on display throughout: on "Temecula Sunrise", it works relatively well, not distracting from the song's bright melodies; on the otherwise-excellent "Two Doves", it acts simply as an escape from the tyranny of 4/4. Secondly, we have the still-annoying "prog" impulses, which ruin the awesomely slinky funk beat that opens "Useful Chamber" by throwing together a masturbatory guitar-skronk "chorus" ("Bitte orca / orca bitte"). From there, the song gets lost in a lack of structure, showing that Longstreth has yet to fully grasp the concept of restraint. The same problem also violates "Remade Horizon", which stretches out a hiccuping section of "ooh"s much too long for comfort.

In spite of all these nuisances, however, the band let their positive aspects shine through enough to distract from the fact that this isn't the second coming of prog-pop (on that note, 'sup Mew?). Pleasures are everywhere: opener "Cannibal Resource" has easily the best three-part harmony you're likely to hear in recent times (courtesy of cuties Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian, and Haley Dekle), "Temecula Sunrise" spins confusing rhythms into a sunny pop opus, and you've probably all heard about how awesome the R&B stomp "Stillness is the Move" is (hint: it's really awesome). The band also do a lot of genre-hopping here, and though some experiments are more successful than others, they show a general respect and knowledge for everything they try out (and even a lust for exploring genres not yet created).

The album's best moment is "Two Doves", which (mostly) strips away the rest of the album's avant-garde ideals to let Angel Deradoorian deliver a confession of undisguised love among beautiful guitar plucks and string swells. It's a surprising and affecting moment, and one that shows that, despite what some may claim, Dirty Projectors aren't done evolving. Bitte Orca is just a comforting affirmation that they're on their way.



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user ratings (365)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Jonathan Kroening (3.5)
Not content to follow suit, Dirty Projectors’ use of space opens the sonic horizon to a dimension ...

Leslie W (4)
With as many surprises as delights, Bitte Orca succeeds on almost all fronts....

Ryan Flatley EMERITUS (4.5)
Bitte Orca is an unorthodox listen; racking your brain and melting your heart all in the same instan...

Frunobulax (4.5)
Equally experimental and accessible, Bitte Orca is the breakthrough that Dirty Projectors needed....


Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



14883 Comments


i gave it a 3.5 because i feel like that's more the tone of the review but i think i like this a little more than i let on. whatever

edit: i also feel i rushed the conclusion. anyone got suggestions?

edit2: also i just realized how dumb that mew namedrop is haha oh well i'm keeping it

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



9982 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

good review, i pretty much agree with all your negative points but to a larger extent

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2010



6956 Comments


album is soooo last year
don't think I can listen to this again

Digging: Wild Beasts - Present Tense

Brokenjewel
March 20th 2010



1247 Comments


Good review, man. I wanna check this out.

Plutonio
March 20th 2010



474 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

klap is dumb


plane
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



6073 Comments


"Stillness in the Move" is a track I really have a hard time with, though I have qualms with the whole bit. Good review.

Kiran
Emeritus
March 20th 2010



5992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

how come lewis? stillness is the move rules, one of the few tracks i come back to this for

plane
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



6073 Comments


It's fucking annoying

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



14883 Comments


i used to have a problem with the shrillness of coffman's voice and i thought the melody was too intentionally lopsided, and also felt the instrumentation to be 'empty' (especially with the entering of the strings in the 2nd half) but now i really like it. go figure. funky stuff

Kiran
Emeritus
March 20th 2010



5992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

same robertsona, its just one of those songs that clicked with me one day after being totally indifferent to it (and the band) before and suddenly i was a fan

plane
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



6073 Comments


I loved the song and this album for a good while until one day the "click" went the complete opposite direction. I can remember when that was too, just halfway through the track I went "oh fuck, skip" and it's never been the same since 8(

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



14883 Comments


whats your favorite song from this? just curious for no particular reason

plane
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



6073 Comments


None of them? Never really thought about it.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



14883 Comments


it almost seems like this should be lower (gasp) than a 3 for you

plane
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



6073 Comments


Album's not even on my computer anymore to test but probably right

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2010



14883 Comments


sad to hear it. one day youll see...


AggravatedYeti
March 20th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I still love this, yous guys are freakin crazy.

good read robertson



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