Dirty Three
Horse Stories


4.5
superb

Review

by gaz USER (19 Reviews)
July 2nd, 2010 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: ‘It is not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must know how to fall’ – Mexican proverb

Sometimes a solitary instigating word is all that’s needed for that last cut of the jigsaw to fall into place. The word is a spark, the subject the fuse, and the final awareness the explosion. In the case of Dirty Three, merely the title they gift their unique take on post-rock is enough to prompt a thousand thoughts of the four legged beasts, imagery that sees them roaming as they please over scores of landscapes; the songs of Horse Stories are each personalized by their own terrain. And what better a metaphor for the way we meander, love and feel our way through life than the horse – extremely headstrong creatures, but with limbs susceptible to snapping, simply surviving on the leash of a bigger picture. Through the eyes of the horse, nothing is bloated, nothing is more than it should be, and every surrounding thing is just enough for their tales to flow through from beginning, to middle, to end. This is exactly how the album runs, Dirty Three’s wordless sounds are rich and vivid enough to encapsulate anecdotes that journey through the spectrum of human emotion, and love or lack thereof in particular.

As your senses are guided and glided through each track, distinctive tones growing in familiarity, it soon becomes apparent that the sound of Dirty Three is about as void of pretence as a homeless beggar – the music is undeniably honest. There is no deceit in the folk-like fields of nostalgia in “Sue’s Last Ride”, and no charade showcased in “Red”’s blundering onslaught of jolting distortion. But with honesty comes empathy. The simple instrumentation of the group, the violin, guitar, and small drum kit sound so battered, so beaten, that every note is expressed with a penetrating stab. Warren Ellis’ violin in particular constantly screeches wonderful yet searing melodies throughout its stay at the forefront of tracks like “Hope”. Its intensity is ferocious, despite the calming sentiment of the track, building to an incredibly warming double-stopped melody, quite a contrast to its lonely counterparts. “Hope” is just one of the many circumstances that proves how well these three musicians can play off each other, and how well their own unique sounds glue together.

The song structures are usually simple, though this is a trait strongly disguised by the airy and very natural playing style of the group. Regardless of this, each piece progresses comfortably with a sense of direction, for example “Warren’s Lament”, which builds to eventually gallop along as if it had come straight out of an old western, only to stagger along after its climax into a beautiful, uncontainable tremble, where the drums pound, and the title’s Warren Ellis bleeds his violin dry of tender notes. Jim White’s work behind the kit is typically conserved and passive, a perfect and undemanding compliment to the washed-up pieces, however moments like in this crescendo and the lonely build up of “I Remember A Time When Once You Used To Love Me”, are times of bursting tension, triumphantly exploding, tearing down the dam. The guitarist Mick Turner however, consistently restrains his playing, adding beautifully subtle arpeggios to the backdrop of the mix – and what a skill to have. It’s incredibly easy to get ‘carried away’ with a song so much so that it steers off track, especially in a genre like post-rock, however Turner’s rightly executed delicacies paint their fine art underneath the formal melodies, like guiding stars if you will. Being simply a three-piece, the necessity in the raw timbre of each instrument is unparalleled, a vital inclusion and amplifier of the deep emotions Dirty Three provoke. Horse Stories is perhaps the sound of love. Horse Stories is perhaps the sound of regret. Horse Stories is perhaps the sound of fading away.



Recent reviews by this author
Lianne La Havas Lost And FoundLe Pre Ou Je Suis Mort Le Pre Ou Je Suis Mort
The Antlers In the Attic of the UniverseKidcrash I Haven't Had A Date In 4 Years EP
65daysofstatic We Were Exploding AnywayJessica Lea Mayfield With Blasphemy So Heartfelt
user ratings (85)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Skimaskcheck
July 2nd 2010


2362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

haven't written in a while 'cause of exams, urgh

going on holiday tomorrow so i thought i'd do this now, will miss u guyz

Ponton
Emeritus
July 2nd 2010


5815 Comments


excellent review to go out on, will miss you around here. This was very needed too

I've contemplated looking into these guys again for a while. I tried a while back and wasn't too amazed, but I'll give it another go eventually.

Skimaskcheck
July 2nd 2010


2362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks Jared! will only be gone a week or two anyway haha.

i'd definitely suggest trying this one - i got Ocean Songs a while back and like you i wasn't blown away at first, but this one struck me immediately

Ponton
Emeritus
July 2nd 2010


5815 Comments


hmm, i also think ocean songs was the one I tried, so yeah, I'll get on this

DiceMan
July 2nd 2010


7068 Comments


Cover creeps me out.


Skimaskcheck
July 2nd 2010


2362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

haha, why? i think it's a cool cover

qwe3
July 17th 2010


21369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

one of the best post rock bands ever

Hope is sooooooo good

nice review too, i agree with what you said about Turner too.

Avirov
December 10th 2010


1206 Comments


Brilliant review, brilliant album. You might want to watch your commas a bit more, if you're worried about technical jargon like that. I really like how fluidly your writing reads, more casual and less stiff than many reviews.

Skimaskcheck
December 10th 2010


2362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks so much man! You're too kind heh.

Yeah my English teacher used to comment on my comma use too haha, i guess i should curb it! Thanks very much for the feedback, honestly appreciated!

Jruined
December 10th 2010


1301 Comments


Love these guys. Good review as well. She Has No Strings Apollo is probably my favorite work of theirs, just because of the opener Alice Wading. That shit makes me want to drown my sorrows over a dead wife in some dusty Gold Rush era (or it's Aussie equivilant) bar, waiting for some son of a bitch to step on my toes and splash my drink in my unshaven face so I can gun him down where he stands and then hang myself because I know that taking another's life will not make up for the loss of my beloved spouse.

You know one of those songs.

stabbler
September 2nd 2011


1415 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

their best

Thane
April 19th 2012


2180 Comments


listening to ocean songs now and loving it, getting this now yeahhhh.

Funeralopolis
February 20th 2013


11774 Comments


favourite post-rock band right here

Digging: Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

WeepingBanana
March 4th 2013


10206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Red is fucking brutal

Yazz_Flute
March 29th 2013


18855 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Best Dirty Three album

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

stabbler
May 3rd 2013


1415 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

maybe S/T just nudges this out

but is warren's lament one of the best songs ever?

Butkuiss
September 14th 2013


4249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ocean Songs is better than this but yeah amazing.

Digging: Musk Ox - Woodfall

Pheromone
October 29th 2014


3788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this rules tbqh but it also sucks at the same time. idk you got to ~feel it~

Digging: Kid Loco - A Grand Love Story

Pheromone
October 29th 2014


3788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I ~feel~ Sue's Last Ride every time tho



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy