In a case of impecccable timing where theirs happens to be the first of three just-left-of-centre American indie acts (along with Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective) whose '09 breakouts are just now getting followed up in somewhat quick succession, Dirty Projectors' newest finds Dave Longstreth and co. retaining Bitte Orca's sudden synth bends, R&B proclivities, inhumanly heavenly harmonizing and guitar wizardry while slightly paring back/stripping down (with handclaps and programmed rhythmic hiccups often replacing a drum kit, and more space generally left in the mix) and getting bucolic and folky with the early-'70s production and earnest lyrics of the title track, "Impregnable Question" and "Impossible Tune."
"There’s always been something referential and self-aware about the music in Dirty Projectors’ catalog, but the process seems exceptionally open on Swing Lo Magellan...Maybe it has to do with the fact that the material was written in upstate New York, Longstreth isolating himself and, according to press releases, writing approximately 70 songs in the process (pared down to 40 demos by the time the rest of the band joined him). This is Longstreth distilled, an emotional clarity and depth that surpasses the rest of his material." - Consequence of Sound/TIME
"For some, the stripped-back approach will come as a disappointment. Aside from the acid guitar blasts in opener 'Offspring Are Blank' and the stuttering rockist wig-out 'Maybe That Was It,' the sort of assertive confidence that made Bitte Orca such an irrefutable pop statement is largely missing...If it diverges in small ways from its predecessor, SLM is on the whole a worthy sequel , a continuation of an art-rock trajectory that we can't really afford not to follow along its recalcitrant, wayward path." - The Quietus