BY SARA SANTORA
Jangling, twinkling and bright, Dirty Projectors’ Lamp Lit Prose is a vibrant feel-good album. The song’s opening track “Right Now” is a slow start, opening with “The sky has darkened, Earth turned to hell.” But, as singer David Longstreth continues, singing “I don’t know how I’m going to reach the promised land, I don’t know how I’m gonna get you to reach my hand, but I’m gonna try and I know when/ right now,” the energy becomes light. And, as the keys and trumpet make their entrance, we are quickly launched into “Break-Thru:” a song built on infatuation, reminiscent of Bleachers and Vampire Weekend.
“It’s cold out there, that’s nothing new, but she keeps it 100 in the shade, she’s a break-thru,” sings Longstreth on “Break-Thru.” While the tone on this song is one of playful wonderment, the album’s lyrical content takes a more serious turn, and brings us to feelings of love. “Ask now, I’m in love for the first time,” sings Longstreth on “I found It In U.” “And all the painful dreams I failed to extinguish were the foot lights down dark aisles I’ve taken, now they’ve led me to you.” While “Break-Thru” was playful, “I Found It In U” is poetic and beautiful, being home to some of Longstreth’s most powerful lyrics. Of course, just because it’s meaningful doesn’t mean it can’t be upbeat. Like the songs before it, “I Found It In U” is indie-rock fun.
But while the album’s first nine tracks are experimental and danceable, Lamp Lit Prose takes a harsh turn and ends on a very simple note. Jazzy and slow, the album’s final track “(I Wanna) Feel It All” calms listeners down from this energetic high they might have been feeling throughout the duration of the album. “I wanna feel everything,” sings Longstreth. “Sweetness of youth and old age’s sting, I open my eyes wide and unblinking—I wanna feel everything.” On its surface, the song feels like such n odd place to end, but with this song Longstreth is doing exactly what he wants: he’s feeling it all. We’ve enjoyed the highs, so it’s okay to enjoy something mellow.
Everything about this album feels both bright yet strangely out of place for today’s musical landscape. Combining elements from a variety of genres, it’s hard to pigeonhole this album into one genre or category. While “Break-Thru” finds its energy from a pop-esque composition, “That’s A Lifestyle,” with its heavy use of acoustic guitar, feels like it belongs on an indie-folk album. Meanwhile the guitar on “You’re The One” sounds reminiscent of The Who, placing the song in a different decade entirely. However, when listened to from top to bottom, the album works as one cohesive unit. With acoustic guitar, horn and twinkling keys throughout, this album is a fun and experimental collection of stories, strung together by love and fascination.