Dirty Three - Towards The Low Sun

Endless skies, barren vistas and empty moonshine bottles
Dirty Three - Towards The Low Sun
The musicians that make up Dirty Three have been gloriously warping their art for almost twenty years. Heroically, the trio of band members have mutated themselves across musical genres, visual performance art and geography. Guitarist Mick Turner lives in Melbourne and is an internationally-renowned painter, drummer Jim White is based in Brooklyn and has tub-thumped for the likes of PJ Harvey, Cat Power and Marianne Faithfull, while the fabulously-bearded Warren Ellis resides in Paris and is a member of the Bad Seeds and Grinderman and has also co-scored soundtracks for ‘The Road’ and ‘The Proposition’ with Nick Cave.

This dizzying cross-fertilisation of ideas has stood Dirty Three well in the past. Their last studio album - 2005’s ‘Cinder’ - was the first to feature vocals (including those of the aforementioned Chan Marshall) and explored a series of moods and tempos across nineteen tracks. This expansive scope, and the influence of recent projects, surges throughout ‘Towards The Low Sun’; an album that could be the soundtrack to the most fucked-up cowboy movie yet to be made.

Things don’t start well. The opening two tracks feel like eavesdropping a ghoulish tuning session as instruments cat-fight for supremacy. But the arrival of Ellis’ magical violin on the remote ‘Moon On The Land’ sets the tone for an album of vast, filmic soundscapes. ‘Ashen Snow’, with Ellis’ lonely fiddle melody burning with loss, is utterly beautiful while the overall mood is one of endless skies, barren vistas and empty moonshine bottles.

6/10

Words by JOHN FREEMAN

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