Dirty Three | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Dirty Three 

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It's an event when this Australian trio puts out a new album these days; after all, the members live on three different continents, and violinist Warren Ellis--a true guitar hero without a guitar--has actually been more prolific over the last half decade as a member of the Bad Seeds. Cinder (Touch and Go), their first release since She Has No Strings Apollo in 2003, crackles with the crisp craftsmanship of older, drier-eyed men (and women: Chan Marshall and Sally Timms sing on two songs, a departure from the band's instrumental tradition). Ellis's sense of dynamics, singularly focused and telegraphed to the cheap seats, has generally led to a sound that's epic and unsubtle--as sweeping, passionate, and almost abstract expressionist as their early albums are, they sometimes sag under the weight of their own drama. This album, with its larger instrumental palette, aims for more depth. There's a sense of restraint, of things left unsaid (even by the standards of a mostly instrumental band), and of statements long thought-out and mulled over--imagine an elaborately planned marriage proposal and an equally long-envisioned "no." Freakwater opens (see the Meter). Sat 10/15, 11:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16, 18+.

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