Dirty Projectors’ “Super João”: Longstreth and Co. continue their EP hotstreak


Courtesy of Shore Fire Media

The cover art for Super João EP

OnSuper João”, Dirty Projectors’ eclectic style of songwriting and composition goes bossa nova while continuing their stellar 5EPs project. 

The indie rock band hailing from Brooklyn has had, to put it modestly, a prolific year. Starting with their EP “Windows Open” from March, they have been on a quest to release five EPs throughout 2020. The result is some of their most forward thinking music in years.

“Super João”is the third installment of the series, featuring Dirty Projectors’ frontman David Longstreth on production and vocals. Each EP features a different band member on what are essentially their own songs.

While the two previous releases have been pop/electronic focused, “Super João” consists of acoustic guitar, with a rare appearance from light percussion and some piano chords. The four tracks are all inspired by bossa nova based out of Brazil.

But with Dirty Projectors, it can never be quite that simple. Longstreth and Co. have crafted these acoustic tunes with the left field approach they have become renowned for over the years.

Oddball songwriting is one of the calling cards of Dirty Projectors’ discography. With this being said, Longstreth uses this characteristic to write songs about love and self-realization in ways that could be considered nothing short of poetic while still approaching the universal themes with unique angles.

The emotions across “Super João” are hushed yet potent. They evoke nostalgia for times that in the moment seemed meaningless, but now mean everything with hindsight. And it just happens to be some of the best songwriting of the year.

Some notable lines across the EP include “sway in the foyer/braided, embroidered/into each others’ days” off of the pristine opener, “Holy Mackerel,” as well as “we are what we make ourself/but we don’t know what we know” from the song “You Create Yourself.”

It’s simple, but that is what makes it beautiful. The songs know what they are: cute, yet impactful bossa tracks, and the band manages to play to the strengths of this fact perfectly.

Beyond all this, it is worth mentioning the guitar work across the project. Working within the confines of the bossa genre, the chords will feel familiar. This is almost expected if one knew what they were getting themselves into when listening to “Super João.” But even so, Longstreth’s playing is something to behold. Across all four tracks, subtle intricacies of the production reveal themselves, adding a sense of depth that may not be immediately apparent.

Dirty Projectors have been on a creative roll this entire year, and they may have found a new highlight in “Super João.” It is easily the least catchy of their 2020 EPs up to this point, and yet it may be the one that will stick as one of the best.

Recommended listening settings: a quiet night in; a quiet night out.

Rating: 9/10
Thomas Stremfel can be reached at [email protected] or @tomstremfel on Twitter.