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Halfway through the latest Dirty Projectors single, “Cool Your Heart,” Dave Longstreth conjures up a ghost. A wordless, syncopated coo cuts through the track’s wonky instrumentation, and for just a second, you wonder to yourself: Is that Amber Coffman? The answer is no: It’s actually Dawn Richard (aka D∆WN), but it sure as hell does sound like Amber. The way Richard’s vocals are layered essentially mimics Coffman’s melisma in “Stillness Is the Move,” and as is increasingly common in Dirty Projectors songs, time, love, and memory have been completely screwed with again.
Up until now, in releases from the forthcoming Dirty Projectors, it seemed like Longstreth was dealing with heartbreak with a sledgehammer. Here, his writing (in collaboration with Solange) is so much more forgiving, introspective, and touched with pleasant magical realism. Longstreth recently told Pitchfork that a song wasn’t supposed to be “a newspaper,” but even for the casual listener, it was hard not to take his lyrics as gossip columns turned into freaky pop music (especially when he described listening to Kanye on the Taconic, shortly after splitting with Coffman). Instead, the ideal song is supposed to be a “cubist fantasia,” and with Richard’s help, it seems like he’s getting there. The breezy, slightly cybertronic duet between Longstreth and Richard bears a sunny similarity to Major Lazer. The beat is vaguely tropical, bright, and so much more buoyant and lighter than previous Dirty Projectors releases (“Keep Your Name,” “Little Bubble,” “Up in Hudson”), but still within Longstreth’s experimental wheelhouse. And this time, when Longstreth asks what “loneliness” feels like, his mind drifts into fantasy instead of reality—towards the sweet solitude of sailing around an island, just a little lost.Share