DIRTY THREE - dirty three CD, Touch & Go




“Instrumental rock has always been best left to the fringe. Avoiding words to tell ideas, these bands convey meaning with a whole other vocabulary–a lexicon to which few can relate. It’s not for the literal-minded, nor for the easily distracted. When it’s not successful (most times) it’s not much use to anybody. But then comes a band like Australia’s Dirty Three, a rather (true to its name) grimy trio of drums, guitar, and violin. Their version of the no-vocals bang and clang–while prey to some milder forms of the self-indulgence and pretension that often accompany instrumental bands–is not likely to bore anyone in proximity to their gallant racket. In fact, getting too close to D3’s violent sea of sound and drama could get you swept up in a musical maelstrom you won’t easily escape. The band’s self-titled American debut begins with the ten- minute shamanic journey of “Indian Love Song,” where the ear- splitting electric violin rumbles then rises to unimaginable intensity, and falls for moments of tense respite as the guitar and drum riffing bumps along ceaselessly. The rest of the album unfolds in a similarly free improvisation style, with Dirty Three headman Warren Ellis’s violin occasionally exchanged for accordion (“Odd Couple”), harmonica (“The Last Night”), or whirligig toy sound (“Kim’s Dirt”). Where most indie rock bands owe their debts to Lou’s side of the Velvet basement, D3’s fiddle assault reminds us how much John Cale’s blistering viola abetted the madness. And in truth, Dirty Three communicate more in their raw wail than most Velvet Undergroun spawn say through all the intellectual poetics they can muster.” – Roni Sarig