Dirty Three
Cinder


4.5
superb

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
December 26th, 2006 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Australian post-rock trio create their most varied, eclectic and song-oriented record to date with stunning results.

Cinder is the seventh album from the Melbourne post-rock trio Dirty Three. A supergroup of sorts, band member Warren Ellis is both a dominant member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and well known for his work with film scores (most notably The Proposition). Mick Turner and Jim White have featured on the records of Cat Power and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.

Dirty Three
Warren Ellis - Violin, Viola, Mandolin, Bouzouki, Piano
Mick Turner - Guitar, Organ, Bass
Jim White - Drums

Where the majority of post-rock groups rely on crushing dynamics and seemingly endless repetition to present their ideas, Melbourne's Dirty Three take a somewhat different approach on Cinder, their seventh album since their formation in 1992. In the past, their unique instrumentation has almost always consisted solely of Ellis' violin, Turner's guitar and White's drums. Cinder sees the band expanding their instrumentation significantly to include (among others) mandolin, piano, bouzouki and organ. In addition to this, Cinder features guests in the form of Chan Marshall (best known for her solo project Cat Power) who contributes lyrics and vocals to "Great Waves", Sally Timms (of the Mekons) who contributes vocals to "Feral" and Mark Soul who plays bagpipes on "Doris". Also in contrast to previous records, Cinder was not recorded live in a studio, but rather pieced together by each member seperately. With all of the aforementioned changes, the Dirty Three have created what is undoubtedly their most eclectic album yet. A 70 minute, 19 song affair, Cinder is also one of the band's longest records to date. Unlike previous albums, Cinder's 19 are all fairly conventional in length, with most songs clocking in under 4 minutes. And so despite being a 19 song beast, Cinder is also the band's most accessible record yet.

Unlike many of the Dirty Three's post-rock peers, Cinder focuses on melody above all else rather than riffs, atmosphere or dynamics. The melodies present on this album sound like they come straight from Australian folk songs, an influence that can be seen in Warren Ellis' work with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, as well as his recent work on the score forThe Proposition (the Australian film written by Nick Cave). Indeed, the lengths of the songs also help them to be more like folk songs than post-rock epics.

The Dirty Three has always centred around Ellis' abrupt yet beautiful violin playing. On previous records, his playing often been violent and almost always intense. Cinder, however, sees the band taking a more calm approach to their music. That's not to say that the intensity is gone; "Doris" is a wonderfully lively track while "Flutter" is messy, noisy and extremely pretty. "Ever Since" and "Last Dance", on the other hand, display a subtlety that very few other bands in the post-rock genre are capable of. Chan Marshall's vocals and lyrics are augmented superbly by a number of different instruments on "Great Waves" and Sally Timms' wordless vocals blend in beautifully with the rest of the instruments in "Feral". Finally, "She Passed Through" is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful songs the trio have ever written. The instruments are balanced perfectly with the guitar riff giving way to a shimmering organ half way through that backs up Ellis' gorgeous violin melody.

With so many different ideas, instruments and moods, it would be easy for Cinder to become a mess with little cohesion. Thankfully, quite the opposite is true; Cinder flows from one track to the next perfectly, its 70 minutes seeming more like 40. With a band as consistent as the Dirty Three, it's no surprise that Cinder is such a great record. The changes that are seen throughout help the band to avoid repeating themselves while leaving most of their trademarks intact. Considering the rest of the Dirty Three's oeuvre, it's hard to say whether Cinder ranks as their best record or not, but it is the kind of quality that fans of the band should be used to by now. A varied, eclectic and hopelessly beautiful album.

Pros
Phenomenal melodies
Good range of instruments
The songs with vocals work extremely well

Cons
One or two substandard tracks

Recommend Tracks
She Passed Through
Doris
Great Waves

Final Rating: 4.5/5



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user ratings (41)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Dimes Make Dollars
December 27th 2006


241 Comments


"Sad Sexy" is a masterpiece

wikuk
December 27th 2006


1110 Comments


Hmm, sounds interesting. I should check them out. Decent review.

AlienEater
December 27th 2006


716 Comments


I have one of their albums and it's pretty good.

The Jungler
December 27th 2006


4827 Comments


Huh, my dad's always trying to get me to watch The Proposition, is it any good/has anyone else seen it?
Anyway, this sounds good, great review.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
December 27th 2006


2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Proposition is the best film of 2005.

livinginafantasy
January 2nd 2007


35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^^ easilly

livinginafantasy
January 2nd 2007


35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

last summer i drove to melbourne (from adelaide) along the great ocean road. and upon reaching the mountenous region near Lorne etc. i decided that Cinder was the next album to be listening to. and i still remember cascading through the twists and bends with all of this flora and fauna rushing passed us, listening to Cinder. it was incredible. This Message Edited On 01.02.07

br3ad_man
Emeritus
January 2nd 2007


2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That would be amazing. I remember going on a trip through North Queensland in June and wishing I had this album with me. I'm probably going on a roadtrip to Perth in March, so I will insist that we listen to this.

Apocalyptic Raids
January 26th 2008


810 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

really good album. Great Waves is fantastic.

Spare
January 10th 2009


5360 Comments


I've seen a lot from these guys on rage but never can find anything from them. Gotta hate Australian music stores.

Apocalyptic Raids
January 10th 2009


810 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

they are easily found at jb hi-fi

Spare
January 11th 2009


5360 Comments


Yeah, I should have specified that I don't have one of those within a 200 km radius.

So, really, I should have said, "Gotta hate the music scene in my town."

StickmanSouffle
February 24th 2009


286 Comments


I have the same problem as Spare, but I'm going to try my best to get my hands on some stuff by these guys.

Lions
July 25th 2009


1015 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What's a good album to start out with for these guys?

Spare
July 25th 2009


5360 Comments


this or ocean songs

Lions
August 21st 2009


1015 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just got both of these and I love both of them. I might even like this one more.

qwe3
July 5th 2011


21369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

zither player awesomeawesomeawesome

chambered49
June 3rd 2012


1727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is truly a special album. Its sense of melancholy and dread is unparalleled in this bands discog. One of my favorite post rock albums

geasoftime
January 20th 2013


1139 Comments


Great Waves was a such a surprise. I didn't expect trip-hop but it was great.

SynapticPlasticity
October 21st 2013


94 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sad Jexy is perfection.



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