Record of the Day – 5-12-2020 – Ocean Songs – Dirty Three

Dirty Three might be my favorite post-rock rock band.  I’ve never been 100 percent sure where the category begins and end or when a band is considered an instrumental progressive rock band instead, but when you category includes Mogwai, Tortoise, and Sigur Ros competition to be the best in the small genre is pretty fierce.  Warren Ellis’s violin is so diverse in it’s sound and range you don’t miss the notion of a vocalist.  His composition skills have been on display on display via his scoring of numerous movies (with Nick Cave with whom he is one of the Bad Seeds) and any given Dirty Three record is pretty cinematic on it’s own.  I’ve listened to the Dirty Three records Horse Stories and Ocean Songs the most and they are both terrific.  I guess I give Ocean Songs the edge as my favorite, but it is close to a draw.   Ocean Songs attempts to evoke of the sounds of water and echos and beat of the Pacific Ocean.  As a band that comes from Australia where almost everyone lives by the water this seems like a task that would be intriguing, but daunting to them as a goal.  The record achieves good results.  I think for me the thing I like most on the record (compared to other Dirty Three records) is Jim White’s (of the currently very popular Xylouris While) drumming. On many of the songs with the looping sounds of the violin and the rhythmic sound of Mick Turner’s guitar the drums come to the forefront as if the ocean were speaking it’s mind through crack of the waves.  Oddly Ocean Songs is in many ways a less calming record than Horse Stories despite it’s approach and subject material.  It makes you pay attention a bit more, is a bit less like a soundtrack and more like the plot itself.  The drums in the forefront make the record a bit more present and a bit less passive than Horse Stories.  I’ve never seen Dirty Three live, but their a band I’d like to.  They seem liked they be the kind of band that was like a storm coming in from an ocean, something that would build up and they drench drench everything with sound.



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