In their native New Zealand the 3Ds are the subject of many stories; my favorite involves a batch of homebrew that guitarist David Mitchell once made for an Xpressway Records party. He insisted on spiking it with golden raisins, which ended up bobbing on top of the beer and puffing up so big the nonplussed crowd mistook them for cheese balls. Mitchell claimed he’d added the raisins on the recommendation of a fellow homebrewer; it wasn’t until after the party that he realized the conversation in which he’d been given the recipe never took place–he’d dreamt it. The 3Ds (guitarist-singers Mitchell and David Saunders, bassist-vocalist Denise Roughan, and drummer Dominic Stones) are certainly fond of their alcohol; they formed in 1988 as an excuse to drink together, and at first they only left their practice room to play parties. Like the homebrew episode, their multidirectional music is suffused with a good-natured but disorienting strangeness: their energetic, ultracatchy pop songs are strewn with bursts of abrasive guitar noise, delicate Celtic embellishments, goofy tempo changes, and lyrics influenced equally by Dr. Seuss and Aleister Crowley, and their vocals vary between Saunders’s punky bawl, Roughan’s delicate lilt, and Mitchell’s haunted wheeze. Their new album, Venus Trail, is marred by too many heavy dirges, but they always mix it up onstage, and their Chicago debut should not be missed. Pavement headlines (see Critic’s Choice). Thursday, May 5, 7 and 11:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Gerard O’Brien.