The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

REVIEW: Dirty Projectors – ‘Windows Open’ EP (Domino)


In a sentence:

Hobbled by a very short run-time, Dirty Projectors’ latest EP ‘Windows Open’ feels slightly unsatisfying and insubstantial as we wait for a new album.

Windows Open, the newest EP by David Longstreth-led outfit Dirty Projectors, arrives at a trying time for humanity. Yet you wouldn’t be able to tell by the general disposition of the barely 10-minute-long release. Windows Open follows the footpath laid down by its 2018 album predecessor, Lamp Lit Prose. If melancholic in its aims, it’s effectively twee, albeit experimentally so, if the term still holds any meaning in 2020. Syncopated acoustic strumming and vocal harmonies all around.

This time around, the band’s guitarist Maia Friedman takes the lead vocal spot throughout the entirety of the EP. Dirty Projectors usually sees female vocalists take the lead (2017’s Dirty Projectors was an outlier in that regard… and every other regard as well). Friedman is clearly a capable singer, and her voice and timbre complement the typically unusual arrangements of the songs well, grounding them firmly into the territory of what can be called a “song structure”. Her vocal line on ‘Overlord’, in particular, lends the song a traditional catchiness that you’d be hard-pressed to find throughout most of the band’s discography.

READ MORE: Dirty Projectors // ‘Bitte Orca’ at 10 years old

The lyrics, co-written by Longstreth and Friedman, seem to appeal to memory and a vague sense of melancholy, when they are decipherable. Unlike the last couple of releases by the band – especially 2017’s heart-wrenching self-titled effort, which could only be described as a sadder thematic sequel and ode to Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak – the EP is, lyrically, difficult to attach to Longstreth’s or the project’s personal narrative. Perhaps that comes from having a duo of writers, yet, in the current socio-cultural climate, Blake-like poetic lines that seem devoid of personal or grander significance seem to fall flatter than usual.

Music video for ‘Overlord’

Some songs leave more of an impact than others, of course. ‘Overlord’, as mentioned before, at the very least, is memorable in its arrangement and repetition. Meanwhile ‘Search For Life’ is pleasing and calming in that way that only acoustic folk songs can really be, and has interesting string accompaniment to boost it up. At its proudest moments, it seems to encroach on Sufjan Stevens territory in terms of emotional resonance.

In its entirety, however, the EP feels like little more than a side-venture while we wait on a true follow up. A totally passable listening experience, the difficulty is minimised by its short run-time as well. It’s Dirty Projectors-esque in sound, perhaps, but not so much in emotional grip. Yet, if you needed your experimental folky fix in this trying time, it’s here. (5/10) (Ellie Wolf)

Listen to Windows Open EP by Dirty Projectors here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.