Dirty Three at Lincoln Hall | Concert preview
The instrumental trio drops its first new album in seven years.
Since its inception two decades ago, Dirty Three has carved out an immediately recognizable sonic landscape, full of complex, instrumental ballads that blur the boundary between joy and sorrow. Warren Ellis’s soaring, bittersweet violin tones provide the primary melodic thrust, but the beauty of the band’s sound comes from the push-and-pull interplay among all three members—Jim White’s skittish drumming and Mick Turner’s slow-burning textures are just as essential.
The Aussie trio emerges from a deep slumber with Toward the Low Sun, its first album in seven years. Members have hardly been idle during the band’s downtime. White lent his talents to Nina Nastasia and Cat Power; guitarist and painter Turner churned out artwork in addition to a solo compilation; and violinist Ellis continued his long-standing collaboration with Nick Cave, scoring music for 2009’s The Road and new Prohibition-era flick Lawless. With all that in the background, it’s a wonder they found time to regroup, let alone write another LP.
While Toward the Low Sun adheres to the group’s distinct blueprint, the album signals a shift into darker territory. That sense of longing so prevalent on previous recordings remains, but songs like “Furnace Skies” and “That Was Was” arrive smothered in guitar fuzz, lending a shadowy sense of doom to Ellis’s melancholic melodies. It’s easy to see why Cave champions the trio as his favorite live band—the lyric-free terrain practically demands one get happily lost in the rambling, wild beauty.