The Dirty Projectors - Rise Above
What, you say? A song for song cover of one of the greatest hardcore records ever made, in which all the tunes are given a childlike pop treatment? Blasphemy? Hubris? A Right-Wing conspiracy?
Dirty Projectors are cheeky and subversive in their homage to the Black Flag classic, and not always to satisfying effect. While the jarring re-arrangements are fun and turn the tables on punk's long-standing love of smart-ass covers of pop and classic rock,
Dirty Projectors take the power out of the tunes as often as they offer new insights into their rhythms. Whereas punk's covers usually highlighted the inanity and bloated excess of the originals, here the lyrics are delivered as if they had never meant anything at all.
The power of "Rise Above," aside from its relentless musical assault that has served as the blueprint for all that has followed in punk, was in its perfect distillation of rage and alienation. Rarely has recorded anger been so believable. But punk was about destroying idols, so being reverent about punk songs is maybe a cruel irony. Dirty Projectors use harmony and guile to wring both revelation and inanity from this classic. They also try the brilliant: to try and re-record a favorite classic from childhood from memory. That impressionistic feel gives the set a power along with its nostalgia. Ten people may love the same record, but all, in some ways, will hear it differently. While they stumble over "Six Pack" and "Gimme Gimme Gimme," others, like "Rise Above" and "Damaged I" work like a charm. Dirty Projectors pay tribute, and expand their own soundscape at the same time.
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on 2007-08-16 b0arder753 Said:
One of the most interesting and creative albums to come out this year (right behind Hissing Fauna I'd say) is an album of Black Flag covers that attempt to recreate the hardcore punk band's awesome Damaged. This, while not hardcore, definitely has that DIY punk aesthetic that makes it wholly original and very intriguing. The album has so many different vibes to it. It has percussion that makes me think of a tribal drum circle, cooing female vocals that remind me of an R&B album, sporadic guitar that's so fuzzed out that it's straight from a post-punk album. This album's collage of sounds def. put it in the "experimental category". It's taken some getting used to but this album is unique enough AND listenable that it will be on my "Best Of" list.