Rhythm & Views

The Dirty Three

The Dirty Three have taken shears to the stolid conventions and tedious precision of symphonic music, and scrapped the stuffy cultural aspects altogether. But unlike Rachels, whose fans would probably like them anyway, The Dirty Three have left the viscera and turned it loose on a life of its own.

The band's music has the feel of just being discovered, of exploring everything that's happened in the last century, and in the last five minutes -- electric guitar here and there, some ambient noise, a rock-loud rave-up. Of the six tracks on Whatever You Love, several can be said to have "movements," but on the first, "Some Summers They Drop Like Flies," these sound suspiciously like verse-chorus-verse. The band occasionally falls in love with a figure and plays it for an entire track, but they turn it over and over, examining its possibilities, in the manner, if not the sound, of jazz.

Like jazz, the music of The Dirty Three offers no answers. It's free association among random events and images that gives you a sense of meaning without making it explicit.

There's no mistaking the pedigree of the music of The Dirty Three. "Lullabye for Christie," for example, lies in the wake of Samuel Barber. Bartok is everywhere. But in this music, it's as if they're playing live at the moment of inspiration, and without the weight of legend.

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