The Dirty Three – Love Changes Everything (Mute) Album Review

Melbourne instrumental/experimental trio of Warren Ellis, Mick Turner, and Jim White The Dirty Three, never broke up, they haven’t released an album since 2012 because they’ve been a bit busy, and they live in Paris, Melbourne and New York respectively, so getting together has been a bit tricky.

I’ve seen them twice, maybe more, mesmerising live, to describe them is indescribable, but at a stretch, I’d call them post-punk-jazz. Music made with subtlety, freedom and empathy, that rides on waves, that narrates without the need for lyrics. There is a vibe…

Love Changes Everything comes 30 years after their self-titled (official) debut, though they weren’t harbouring hangovers this time around and they took more than a day and a half to create it, 5 in fact plus a year to mix it in Melbourne with  Nick Huggins who had worked with the band previously. All the compositions carry the album’s title, except the following numeral I-Vi, and as one would expect not a word is uttered.

So of course the question is how does Love Changes Everything sound… It sounds free, free for the three members of The Dirty Three to create without boundaries. There is a freshness that 12 years apart brings, Love Changes Everything harks back to discovering the band for the first time. That maniacal response to being able to listen to Jazz, but Jazz played by punk rockers and rastas has returned.

Through the six compositions that kind of relate, but not really, there is an enormous range of emotional responses, like love, it is a rollercoaster of intertwined energies that sate and dispirit in unison. The album cannot be experienced as a single song, one needs space,  to be in pajamas, drinking a bottle of cheap wine, and smoking far too many cigarettes to be able to truly revel in the magnificence of all six acts.

Five out of Five Stars

Simon Coffey