The Austin Chronicle

Record Reviews

Reviewed by David Lynch, June 16, 2000, Music

Dirty Three

Whatever You Love, You Are (Touch & Go)

Definition of a good song? Answers are as numerous as the stars. Still, one criterion has to be a sense of wanting more. The same feeling one gets from "Lullabye for Christine," the closing track of Whatever You Love, You Are, the fifth album from Australians Jim White, Mick Turner, and Warren Ellis. The trio's instrumental, improvisational mood music resides at the flowing nexus of rock and folk, thankfully without easy comparison. Previously, D3's albums -- such as 1998's introspective Ocean Songs or '96's mercurial Horse Stories -- were recorded like performances: three musicians playing together. While it's not vastly different from these predecessors (think a different shade of the same deep-blue hue), Whatever... is notable for its use of subtle studio multitracking, stage be damned. Violinist (and Nick Cave sideman) Ellis' reflective pizzicato and harmonic counterpoints merge with White's appetizingly implied drums. These then alloy with Turner's splashy guitar, delivered with the same broad strokes as his aquatic starry-night artwork. "I Offered It Up to the Stars & the Sky" opens with overlapping violin melodies, accented by incoming drums and warm guitar, which create an eerie March of Lost Souls. The sparse and building, emotive and organic song then morphs into an emancipating vamp, ultimately rolling into an avalanche ending. Epic. The six songs on Whatever... average around eight minutes, so no shortchange here. Still, you end up wanting more.


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