Dirty Projectors - "Keep Your Name" (Singles Going Steady)

Dirty Projectors return with this emotionally complex, multifarious number.

Andrew Paschal: Dirty Projectors return with this emotionally complex, multifarious number. David Longstreth's vocals glide elusively between naked crooning and a kind of wry, winking humor. He makes himself stunningly vulnerable and then seems to shrug it all off with a sad smile, as people do when coping with heartbreak. By turns, he is both cagey and devastatingly honest. The straightforward piano balladry combines with squeaking vocal snatches, samples of both themselves and Dan Deacon, and glitchy beats to add to the overall impact, no less affecting for being so disorienting. [8/10]

A. Noah Harrison: Over the last decade, the coyly cooed prog-pop of Dirty Projectors propelled the group to the heights of indie experimentation. With 2009’s Bitte Orca, David Longstreth and his ever-morphing band of mainly female players dutifully carved out a corner of the indiesphere. But as indie forges into the mid-2010s, the Projectors’ struggle to fit their canvas of quirky harmony to the stretcher bars of today’s pitch-play vocals and minimal R&B beats. And like ANONHI’s recent work, the product is striking but doesn’t feel at all natural. This remix of Dirty Projectors’ “Impregnable Question” with Dan Deacon’s “Sheathed Wings” flails before taking flight. [5/10]

Scott Zuppardo: Soulful and succulent vocals over an electronica soundscape of samples and coos. The borderline schizophrenic bridge pins your interest and the track builds and layers moving forward. Fresh vibes and gyrations from the dirtiest of breakup songs -- tears on the knobs, mixers, and console. [8/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: A warped and distorted post-breakup lament, "Keep Your Name" is the musical equivalent of ripping up an ex's letters over the fire as David Longstreth adds skewed samples of earlier song "Impregnable Question" to his stretched-out voice and melancholy keys. The faux rap break in the middle of it all feels out of place, a little disingenuous and even whiny surrounded by so much slow-burning hurt, but the emotion is unquestionable. [6/10]

Paul Carr: This is an unsettling but oddly beautiful return that reveals itself over multiple listens. The drowsy vocals sound like they have been deliberately slowed down. The music itself is skeletal at best with a prominent muffled beat and sputtering snippets of instrumentation that fade in and out. Out of nowhere the song wakes from its slumber like a animal coming out of hibernation. A propulsive bridge takes over that wouldn't sound out of place on a Kanye record. Few artists can do so much with so little and create something quite so captivating. [8/10]

Chris Ingalls: Back from a four-year absence, Dirty Projectors conjure up some weird combination of Bon Iver, Adult Jazz and Anohni with disembodied, distorted vocals, a slightly gospel-flavored groove and plenty of glitchy production to prevent things from getting predictable. There's a lot to chew on here, and most of it is a lot of fun to explore. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.00

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