by Tyler Rescigno
Over the past few months, the Dirty Projectors have moved away from the lush interweaving of guitars and vocal harmonies that have colored their sonic output for the majority of their career and toward a sound driven by electronics. The group’s latest release, “Cool Your Heart,” which features R&B artist Dawn Richards, is characterized by its Caribbean and dance infused drum track, overlaid with a bright keyboard that carries the chord progression to the summit where it is met by a rather anthemic horn section.
The song is glitchy and repetitive, though not without intent, proven by the production of the accompanying music video, which, too, is on a loop. We see frontman Dave Longstreth and Richards emerging and retreating from a Tesla, whose neon headlights flash like the bulb on a camera, in a video that cannot hide rap’s influence on it, nor expresses any desire to. Longstreth’s vocal melody, which is given weight through an introspective and revelatory lyricism inspired by his recent breakup with ex-bandmate Amber Coffman, provides the thread holding the track together.
While Longstreth has been presenting material that will surprise fans of older releases, his vocal approach is unwavering, and there remains a vocal break by Richards heavily reminiscent of those Coffman would contribute. Still, he runs his voice the length of the scale, often punctuated by a flurry of falsetto that resonates into Richards’s euphonious and catchy chorus. “Cool Your Heart” manages to be a creative and seemingly personal step forward for Longstreth, who appears to have penned the song to serve as a reminder to himself as well as advice to the listener.