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Dirty Three – Toward The Low Sun

on February 29, 2012, 7:58am
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A genre rife with hollow oversaturation, instrumental rock runs the risk of sounding either stunningly frank or wantonly pretentious. On Toward The Low Sun, Aussie post-rockers Dirty Three have yet again achieved a beautiful post-rock sound both ingenuously carefree and wisely tempered, an impressive feat this far into their careers.

Painting with their usual diverse palette of folk harmonies and jazz grooves, the Melbourne trio continue to show that they’re not afraid to add a little noise to their canvas. Jim White, Mick Turner, and Warren Ellis play with a focused spontaneity akin to Do Make Say Think, as on tumultuous opener “Furnace Skies”, an aptly-titled prog-rock storm similar to what defined the group in their earlier days. However, as Toward The Low Sun evolves, these clouds constantly part, making room for welcome warmth.

Dirty Three have worked with a diverse list of artists, including Cat Power, Nick Cave, and Low, and their gritty blues mixes well with a baroque serenity. The harder post-rockers such as “That Was Was”, featuring feedback-driven chords from Turner and buzzing violin trills from Ellis, complement the more fragile moments found in “Rain Song” and the romantic “Moon On The Land”. Still, possessing the restraint to know the difference between ruminating and sulking is key, and Dirty Three lace even their minor-key progressions with a lightness and encouraging demeanor. The accessible track lengths only strengthen earthy compositions such as “Ashen Snow” and “Rising Below”, which house their own emotional paths and unfurling dynamics.

Toward The Low Sun may not be as raw or brooding as releases like 1998’s Ocean Songs, but it’s just as thoughtful and redolent of both location and mood.

Essential Tracks: “Moon On The Land”, “Ashen Snow”, and “The Pier”

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