Dirty Three Toward the Low Sun(Bella Union/Drah City) Buy it from Insound
When Warren Ellis of Bad Seeds fame does his own thing, away from Nick Cave, you roughly know what you’ll get. A hectic piece of musical talent. Dirty Three construct an album that consists of roughly three styles: big and exciting prog-rock, guitar based epics, softer string numbers led by Ellis’s violin and the odd Mogwai-esque alt-rock song without words.
Opening track Furnace Skies sets the template for the frenzied guitar tracks: bold and loud, fuzzed up guitars, that prog-rock sound and the most chaotic noise around, almost like a middle aged version of White Denim’s Radio Milk How Can You Stand It? Rising Below is the album’s highpoint as far as the softer tracks are concerned. The percussion shivers and strings drift in and out, slowly picking up pace, getting as close as it can to being a musical din without quite crossing the line.
But here comes the greatest musical praise one could ever hope to receive. That Was Was sounds like Dinosaur Jr. A simple drum beat backing a gloriously lazy guitar solo, so incredible and so half arsed, like “it could be the greatest piece of guitar ever if I wanted it to be, but I’m not that bothered so I’ll just do something pretty amazing”.
It’s all well and good being insanely talented musicians and making skilled pieces of music that impress your audience. And Toward the Low Sun is certainly an impressive piece, music wise. But an unintended consequence rises from the skill; the life of the album is drained by the ability. There may be heartfelt moments, such as the stunning Moon on the Land, but the overall perfect quality and polished musicianship is ultimately uninspiring. It’s that record everyone says is good but no one loves. And the similarity of the majority of the album is an issue, being that there are only really three styles on it, similar tracks blend in to one another. I may be able to name tracks that standout to me as I listen to them but that’s with the help of a handy track list. I’d struggle to name the album’s best pieces from memory. It’s good, but it’s not essential.29 June, 2012 - 07:52 — James McKenna