Shorter songs, an expanded quiver of instruments -- including organ, mandolin, bass and even bagpipes -- and the appearance of vocals on two tracks (courtesy of Mekon Sally Timms and Cat Power's Chan Marshall) may come as a surprise to Dirty Three fans. Still, the sounds documented on Cinder
are unmistakably those of the transcontinental trio. That's essentially because the band's bedrock remains unchanged: Warren Ellis's violin strings are still plugged directly into his heart, Jim White continues to be a delightfully melodious drummer, and Mick Turner's guitar can still shimmer like gossamer wings or map out emotional space with muted but dulcet notes. Consider the fuzzed-out chords, marching beat and wailing bagpipes on "Doris" and the half-build/half-release structure of "She Passed Through," or the equally aquatic, airy "Flutter" and the joyous sadness of "Last Dance." You'll understand why the Dirty Three are some of the most unconventional and daring interpreters of the rock form.