|1. Alice wading|
|2. She has no strings|
|3. Long way to go with no punch|
|4. No stranger than that|
|5. Sister let them try and follow|
|6. She lifted the net|
|7. Rude (and then some slight return)|
The band are a essentially a trio of guitar, electric violin and drums and their latest release, "She has No Strings Apollo" is a collection of dark, atmospheric instrumentals that gradually weave their way into your consciousness. I bought this on the strength of the "In the Fishtank" collaboration with Low and hearing some of the album on the radio and initially I was disapointed but perserverance - this album is very different from the work with Low - but repeated listenings paid off. Often intense, this is an album that needs to be listened to not stuck on in the background. The mood varies from the pastoral of 'Long Way To Go With No Punch" to the intensity of tracks such as "She Has No Strings" and "Rude (and Then Some Return)" and the fragile beauty of "No Stranger Than That' with its gently plucked violin.
Buy "She Has No Strings Apollo" if you're lookking for something different that is both challenging and refreshing.
For those unfamiliar with the band in question, they might be summed up as such : a classically trained violinist with no hang ups about proper "tone", an unconventional guitarist with a predilection towards drones and a percussionist who more often than not plays his kit with assorted rattles and mallets as opposed to plain vanilla drum sticks. The trio play mournful old world ballads that are continuously upended by a serious urge to freak out.
She Has No Strings Apollo may very well be Dirty Three's greatest accomplishment to date, at least since 1996's classic Horse Stories. The dreary repetitive grind that was Ocean Songs and the limited instrumental palette of Whatever You Love, You Are have been replaced with what one could guardedly call a sense of variety. Keep in mind, this is still the Dirty Three we're talking about, so it's not that much different than their other releases, but it is a bit more varied.
The opening strains of bowed violin and plaintive guitar picking may sound familiar enough, but once the band establishes its groove -- complete with overdubbed pizzicato violin, distorted guitar chords and looped background arpeggiated motifs -- you'll know something has changed. Overdubbing is nothing new for the trio. Whatever You Love, You Are featured Warren Ellis's dueling overdubbed violin lines on a number of tracks. But on this here platter the band has decided to add instruments heretofore absent from their arsenal. Piano, organ and bass all make an appearance alongside the usual guitar, violin and trap set.
The first track "Alice Wading", starts off sprightly enough, and only continues to build momentum until the inevitable climax. The most surprising thing about this album, however, is the groups' newfound embrace of varied rhythms. Granted there are plenty of the pre-requisite dirges and wailing drones propelled along by Jim White's free form drumming style that typify the Dirty Three sound, but there is an energy here that seems lacking on their last few releases.
In other developments, "Long Way To Go With No Punch" may actually be the single sweetest melody ever written by the trio, complete with simple piano figures and minimal, almost orchestral drumming. Personally, the biggest shocker for me was the closing cut "Rude (and then some slight return)", in which the band starts off playing one of its trademark rubato, mournful, rustling percussion dirges. But when the proverbial "chorus" kicks in ... it's straight four-on-the-floor with crunchy guitar chords from Mick Turner and all that it implies -- straight up rawk. It is as surprising in its straight forwardness as in its effectiveness.
For those unfamiliar with the band's work, this is the perfect place to dive in. For those that already have a fondness for them, this will not disappoint.
-- Troy Collins
This was my first exposure to Dirty Three and I have to say, I like what I hear. Rich, emotive storytelling music without the words. Try it.
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions