The Dirty Projectors at their best create music that feels so completely their own that they are always unmistakably them. Even when they are collaborating with others, as they did with David Byrne on this year's Dark Was The Night compilation, or covering another band's material, as on last album Rise Above (albeit re-imagined, from the memory of Black Flag records) they lose none of their individuality.
Bitte Orca perfectly retains this over-worldly, unique feeling. With all of the human sexuality that Dave Longstreth's falsetto vocals managed to capture on the sublime Rise Above this is an album from a band that can both see and realise their own potential. Streamlined yet playfully creative, Bitta Orca manages to deliver an album that focuses Longstreth's experimentalism into something coherent and unashamedly "pop".
But it's still by no means conventional - it's just that the songs themselves are now calling the shots. The chorus of 'Useful Chamber' for example, with quick and punchy shouts of "Bitte Orca, Bitte Orca!", gives way to a fret wig-out on the guitar before dissolving into a dreamlike vocal that sounds like a kid spinning around until they fall down dizzy into the arms of love. It's experimental and interesting and yet still completely immediate and catchy.
Lead single 'Stillness Is The Move' boasts a snappy solo vocal from Amber Coffman that sounds like getting up and stepping over the root cause of your problems, no longer being held back by the daily grind. The strings that kick in halfway through turn it into what is probably the Dirty Projectors finest track to date - an organic, fresh R&B anthem.
Along with bands like TV On The Radio, the Dirty Projectors are forging a new pop-centric future for art-rock. The charm of Bitte Orca is that it sounds totally without time and without classification - taking the best elements from 50 years of pop music and rock without sacrificing any inventiveness. The result is one of the most beautiful records BlackPlastic has heard in a long time.
Bitte Orca is released on Monday on Domino Records on CD, MP3, LP and cassette. No, BlackPlastic isn't joking. Both the cassette and LP come with codes to download the album as an MP3. Available to order now on Amazon.co.uk on CD and LP, although obviously everyone knows cassette is the format to go for [Affiliate Links].