Dirty Projectors have released a new limited-edition single of two tracks from their
sessions that didn’t fit the bill; they were previously only available on the band’s UK-only “Temecula Sunrise” EP. As good as can be expected following the critical success of their sophomore album? Yes. Whether they deserved their own 7″ is the real question.
Shining through a James Brown filter, “Ascending Melody” toys with alternating time signatures, funky guitars, and a vocal-driven mindset with plenty of measures of soothing ooh ooh ooh ooh’s to complement the harmonizing vocal lines from Dave Longstreth and his “fembots.” With a hand-clap-heavy, almost tribal ramping that doesn’t disappoint its namesake, the expected ascent takes an unexpected turn and makes a descent back into its comfortable vocal territory. Unfortunately, these bookends detract from the climax and make it longer than necessary, as your ears are forced to watch a tailgating coda jump in to steal the spotlight, like a wedding crasher. Thankfully, it doesn’t spoil the feel-good vibe you get from the simple repeated lyrics “Ascending melody/Stronger than all concern.”
The B-side, “Emblem of the World” features a far simpler chord progression, topped with Longstreth at the forefront and the girls, this time, given a backseat. With lines like “I am in your eyes/You have always been in mine,” and “We’re sharing emblem of the world,” the reciprocity also parallels the shared air space when it gradually becomes apparent how necessary the female touch is to the wholesome nature and intent of the song. Maybe too necessary, as sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough of Angel Deradoorian and Amber Coffman. (This fused-air theme is visually displayed with the two-way brain waves on their album art — the colors simply emanate cool.)
Altogether, it’s a very balanced package, but only without the constraints of a full-length album. That’s the upside. Dirty Projectors did the right thing in keeping the two separate from Bitte Orca so neither the album nor the single sustained any irreparable injuries. If you don’t feel like springing for the 7″, the two tracks are available for free download on their website.