Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca (Domino)

With Dirty Projectors' Bitte Orca, the sound of blissful controlled chaos latches on and doesn't let go.

The sound of blissful controlled chaos latches on and doesn't let go
For all the Dirty Projectors'' gorgeous moments and clever, twisted melodies—with this band, they''re often the same thing—there''s an overwhelming sense of unsteady, almost adolescent energy coursing through the bustling rock of Bitte Orca. That''s not to say the band is somehow immature, because this is a lush, compositionally sound new album. It''s more that the music and rhythms on the group''s fifth album are so charged and varied, filled with both shy beauty and energetic release, where sensitive fingerpicking alternates with coiled, furious guitar lines that could spontaneously unravel and uncoil. Opener “Cannibal Resource” calmly advances with unfettered notes, breezy handclaps and wordless backup singing—listen to how the vibrating guitar is gently unfurled at the beginning—yet buzzes with energy. “Temecula Sunrise” quietly shambles forward before exploding in a chorus of crisscrossing guitars, while the buoyant “No Intention” bunches cooing vocals around a crisp guitar line. Mastermind David Longstreth''s exposed falsetto and the vocals of Amber Coffman, which elevates the slinky “Stillness Is the Move” into an unlikely anthem, are tense and passionate, matching the fervent music and lush string passages. Avant rock has rarely been so resourceful and resonant. [4.5 out of 5 stars]