It would be hard to review Swing Lo Magellan without mentioning the more accessible and laid back approach the band has taken. Take for example the overall trend of less “strange” songs – the harmonizing with Angel Deradoorian (as in “Stillness is the Move,” from Bitte Orca) is sorely missed as Amerber Coffman and Haley Dekle are often relegated to “oooh, oooh” refrains. Even in songs like “Unto Ceaser,” comments from the band such as “that didn’t make any sense,” are included in the song alongside moments that feature only slow, sing along clapping.
In addition to the sound, the album is also the least obtuse album lyrically in the band’s catalogue. This opens up the band to a closer inspection of the lyrics. We see a tension at play, often in an inability to act or see something as it truly exists. “I knew that I had lost my sight,” concludes the title track. We see more of this sort of writing in “Gun Has No Trigger” (“If you’d looked you might have just seen them”) and “Dance for You” (“There is an answer / I haven’t found it”). Seeing things too late or seeing contradictions is prevalent too: one example in “Swing Lo Magellan” : “A point of light too invisible to give itself to the naked eye.”
The accessibility of sounds and lyrics will allow listeners to make their own reference points to the lyrics whether about being in love or wanting love (“Impregnable Question”/”See What She Seeing”) or the results of Big Oil (“Just from Chevron.”) Though maybe not the best, it’s one of the most relatable Dirty Projectors albums. (Domino, dominorecordco.com) Devin King