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Dirty Three - Ocean Songs CD (album) cover

OCEAN SONGS

Dirty Three

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.28 | 41 ratings

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sl75
3 stars I saw these guys live once, at the Big Day Out in 1997 (the gig was memorable for Nick Cave turning up and singing "Tupelo" and "Shiver" with them, although I remember hearing complaints about his presence on RRR afterwards). In my usual leisurely way, a mere 22 years later I've finally bought one of their albums. At the time I remember hearing a lot of people talk about how innovative they were for playing instrumental, apparently largely improvised pieces with electric violin as the lead instrument. And I remember thinking, 'haven't any of you people heard of Mackenzie Theory?" On this album the music is gentle, lyrical, and drawn-out - apparently a change from their previous albums (and certainly less aggressive than I remember from that gig) - although I would still describe the sound and playing as fairly raw in it's own way, the punk backgrounds of the musicians still audible. Generally the pieces consist of a simple chord progression played by Thomas on guitar (there is little-to-no lead playing), over which Ellis improvises on violin, while White's drumming switches from functional-rhythmic to atmospheric. Occasionally piano is added. The music is calming, slightly hypnotic, but never really rises beyond the level of nice background music. Comparing them to Mackenzie Theory - well certainly a whole lot less frenetic, and Ellis's playing is much more lyrical/melodic (and more in tune) than that of Cleis Pearce, but they're also a whole lot less interesting harmonically or rhythmically.
sl75 | 3/5 |

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