Dirty Three – Dirty Three/ Horse Stories

Melbourne’s instrumental post-rocker outlaws dust down old faithfuls

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R1995 – Dirty Three – 3*
R1996 – Dirty Three – 4*

Dirty’s Three’s eponymous second album (1995) captures future Bad Seed Warren Ellis, drummer Jim White and guitarist Mick Turner in their first, vigorous flush of youth, taking up gnarly guitar, gypsy violin and brushed, freeform drums and building them into swirling, chaotic cyclones of sound.

“Everything’s Fucked” sounds like a backwoods cousin to the sleek, futuristic post-rock music that was emerging from Chicago around the same time, while “The Last Night” comes on like one of Morricone’s Spaghetti Western scores transplanted into the Australian outback. 1996’s ‘Horse Stories’ is something else still though.

There’s dramatics here, but also feats of measured grace and startling tenderness – take “Sue’s Last Ride”, wherein Ellis’ violin relates a rocky emotional narrative from sombre mourning to bloodthirsty revenge, without a single word spoken.

LOUIS PATTISON

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