Dirty Three She Has No Strings Apollo

As ponies go, Dirty Three has known more than a few tricks in their decade. The Melbourne, Australia trio burst onto a stale, guitar-driven alt-music scene with raw emotion without treacly lyrical poetry. By eschewing every convention they could - having a violin as a lead instrument, no bassist nor singer, openly going for the emotional throat especially in performance - Dirty Three became a treasured oasis in music's uninventive desert. But after ten years, despite touring time away from D3 (drummer Jim White with Smog and Will Oldham, guitarist Mick Turner on his own, and violinist Warren Ellis with Nick Cave), their relationship still slips back into its well-worn grooves. She Has No Strings Apollo brings in some bass and piano to spice things up, but it remains Dirty Three ten years on - tuneful, interesting, even occasionally compelling. But it no longer feels like a death grip on the pulsing jugular of creativity, as the band's first three records did. (Touch and Go)