The Dirty Projectors aren’t known for musical simplicity, but on the band’s sixth album Swing Lo Magellan, it takes a stab at stripped-down soul and R&B, mixed with the sprawling orchestral arrangements, handclaps, and neo doo-wop flourishes they love. “About to Die” sounds like frontman David Longstreth’s attempt at a drive-in classic, and single “Gun Has No Trigger” loads up on the “oohs” and “ahhs.” West African highlife guitar, another Dirty Projectors signature, rises above on the jangly “Dance for You,” while the folk-driven title track is as simple as the Dirty Projectors get. “Offspring Are Blank” begins like a traditional Southern gospel hymn, but quickly morphs into a rock anthem, replete with a Smashing Pumpkins-esque guitar solo. The record isn’t as approachably warm as 2009’s Bitte Orca, so it might not get as much play at barbecues this summer, but “Unto Caesar,” a spiky pop song with a horn section, was practically made for backyard grilling.
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By Dylan Stableford