Dirty Projectors’ latest EP, About to Die, is a short and sweet refresher course on the group’s sophisticated weirdness.
The release opens with “About to Die” from Swing Lo Magellan, the band’s acclaimed album released back in July. Regardless of its rather morbid title, the track is lighthearted and agile — a reminder of the group’s uncanny ability to squeeze skillful complexity into something catchy like a pop tune.
The EP’s other three tracks are previously unreleased material, although they were originally written for Swing Lo. “While You’re Here” is a lovely little ode to the late Gerard Smith of TV on the Radio. With only a rich string arrangement to carry Dave Longstreth’s vocals, it abandons the group’s signature dissonance and highlights the importance of Longstreth’s captivating voice. Despite the song’s stylistic difference — being several degrees more accessible than much of the group’s repertoire — it has Dirty Projectors written all over it.
And Longstreth really shines with star capacity on “Here Til It Says I’m Not,” belting out a chorus that will inevitably get stuck in your head. This move is something that’s not always the case for the avant-garde lyricist.
However, the EP ends on a somewhat tame note — at least tame by Dirty Projectors standards — compared to how it starts. “Simple Request” flaunts a stilted rhythm that doesn’t ever feel quite comfortable, but this only adds to the song’s funky charm.