Brooklyn has become a byword for 'hipster' over the past two or three years, but when Dave Longstreth - the main man behind the borough's Dirty Projectors - began making music in 2002, he wasn't particularly interested in being trendy. As the mainstay of the shape- and sound-shifting act, Longsteth's 'revolving door' member policy, as well as his predilection for openness when it comes to music-making (past albums have included a concept album based on Eagles frontman Don Henley, and interpretations of Black Flag songs) means that his band are one of the most exciting around without having to bow to fads.
Longstreth's recent collaborations with both David Byrne and Bjork are demonstrative of Dirty Projectors' newest album, their first since signing to Domino Records last year. Like both of those artists' output, 'Bitte Orca' is a multi-faceted record that unravels an extra unseen layer with each listen - whether it's a sly change of pace you hadn't initially noticed, or an understated melody that's only discovered when absorbed via headphones.
Engaging so many different styles - pop, jazz, rock, indie, world music - can be a tricky manoeuvre, but it's pulled off with panache here, never sounding pretentious or gratuitous. Songs like 'The Bride' are almost misleading; starting off gently before shouldering fizzy little bursts of instruments and harmonies; 'Stillness is the Move''s chunky beat is almost tribal, as is the hypnotic cadence of 'Useful Charmer', while the constantly careening tempo of 'Remade Horizon' and the gospel undertones of closer 'Fluorescent Half Dome' are simply spellbinding. Best of all, there are only nine tracks here; just about enough to keep you satisfied, but still gagging for the next unexpected aural fork in the road at all times.