BY JENNIFER KELLY
Don’t Tell the Driver is not an opera, whatever Dirty Three guitarist Mick Turner might tell you. This languid, introspective, loosely drawn series of musical mood pieces is too diffuse and glancing, for one thing, insinuating but never quite laying out a story line of remembered love and idealized connection. For another, there’s not that much singing, just a couple of impossibly tender, breathy, vocal caresses from Caroline Kennedy-McCracken (she of the Plums, Deadstar and The Tupils), and one rather stunning performance Oliver Mann (who is, as it happens, an actual opera singer).
And lastly, Don’t Tell the Driver is far too gorgeously personal, too hushed, too subtle, too free-rangingly ruminative to ever play out on a public stage. Instead its chaotic swirls, its muted flares of brass, its clackety storms and ebbs of drumming (three percussionists, Kishore Ryan, James Wegener from Laughing Clowns and Ian Wadley all sound remarkably like the D3’s Jim White) seem destined to play out in private theaters—ours and Turner’s. In the dreamlike space this album inhabits, we, too, recall liaisons so immediate and overwhelming that a line like “Sometimes lover I can’t tell where your hair ends and the rest of the world begins” is not poetry but a literal description of the way things are.
DOWNLOAD: all of it.