Dirty Three - Toward

by Steve Reynolds Rating:8 Release Date:2012-02-27

Warren Ellis could quite rest on his laurels as a Bad Seed but while that could be deemed an easy way out he still maintains his own cloak and dagger outfit, Dirty Three, and takes their output into double figures with new long-player Toward the Low Sun. Drawing on a multitude of sounds (folk, art-noise, jazz), Dirty Three switch between bursts of light and shade and go straight for the jugular on opener 'Furnace Skies'. It sounds like a band warming up with an elongated jam of crashing drums, screeching guitar, atonal organ and intermittent haunting violin, at times reminiscent of The Velvet Underground's 'Sister Ray'.

The subtle piano tones and random mess of percussion on 'Sometimes I Forget You've Gone' create what sounds like a pile of outtakes picked up off the recording floor room and spliced together to make a somewhat beautiful mess. The incandescent beauty which surrounds Ellis' violin gels sublimely with the minimal acoustic guitar on 'Moon on the Land' as the beat shuffles along gracefully and the violin haunts the song to its finale.

Ellis should be proud of what Dirty Three do. He maintains a high level of urgency and supremely confident level of creativity within the songs, as captured across all corners on 'Rising Below' which builds slowly in a post-rock style before a cataclysmic violin berates your ears. I guess you could quietly slide them into a niche and call it folk-post-rock if you want to be so pedantic.

Dirty Three could at times be deemed harsh listening to the virgin ear but you should wallow in the beautiful arrangement on 'That Was Was' with its J Mascis style guitar solo ubiquitous throughout against some pretty fierce, belligerent drumming. Fuzzy closer 'You Greet Her Ghost' has a melancholy refrain almost like a funereal epitaph for Bela Lugosi.

I hope Ellis and his antipodean cohorts are proud of Toward the Low Sun. They should be as it needs no bullshit promotion or mass marketing to be successful. Their time-served musical accomplishment has produced this mighty fine and creative long-player.

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