Dirty Projectors – “Gun Has No Trigger”

By: Jack Stein

“This isn’t weird enough” reads the highest-rated comment on the Youtube video for the first new track in years from our favorite Brooklyn “weirdoes”, Dirty Projectors. Apparently, after the Afro-Pop experimentalism and unhinged guitar odysseys of 2009’s fantastic Bitte Orca, the masses yearn for more similarly divisive fare from Dave Longstreth’s inimitable crew.

Rebuttal #1: it’s a fucking Youtube comment (the Internet surely weeps with every predictably insipid post.) Rebuttal #2: “Gun Has No Trigger” is plenty weird in its own right. Dave appears to be taking cues from fellows such as James Blake, Bon Iver, and even Drake, all of whom released comparably minimalistic, sparse, yet alien-sounding records within the last year. 2012 looks a lot different from 2009; three years ago, it was all about the sonic maximalism and exuberance that everyone from Animal Collective to Atlas Sound was exhibiting. Now, the challenge many artists embrace lies in how stripped-down they can get while still keeping things interesting.

If that truly was Dave’s thesis, then this first cut from their upcoming LP in July is a wild success. Those female coos, metronomic percussion, and Dave’s loopy vocal cadence are all familiarly present, but something feels a bit…off. Gone are the guitar pyrotechnics and cheery vibes of Orca; in their place, a sense of brooding and uncertainty. The most fascinating thing about “Gun Has No Trigger” is how the mood inverts itself from the first second to the last; those voices that sounded so angelic at the outset recall sirens luring you to your demise at the end. Whether “weird” in the traditional sense of the word or not, Dirty Projectors look like they have another modern classic up their sleeves.


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