9 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like a strange hothouse blossom, Dead Can Dance brought exotic colors to the post-punk scene when they emerged in the ‘80s. Singers Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry used the exalted gloom of Medieval European music as a departure point, then added international influences along with a modern rhythmic sensibility. Spleen and Ideal — first released in 1985, then remastered for a 2008 edition — marks an early high point in the band’s now-storied career. In these thickly atmospheric tracks, DCD lyrically invoke the spirit of French decadent poet Charles Baudelaire as they explore the nexus between sensual indulgence and spiritual obsession. Tracks like “De Profundis (Out of the Depths of Sorrow)” and “Circumradiant Dawn” are solemn, sinister liturgies, relieved by the serpentine pulsations animating “The Cardinal Sin” and “Indoctrination (A Design for Living).” Middle Eastern rhythms add a swirling texture to “Mesmerism” and “Avatar.” Throughout, Gerrard’s ethereal vocals transcend language, while Perry’s baritone conveys a priest-like authority. Dead Can Dance broadened its scope in later albums – but for rich, dark beauty, they rarely bested Spleen and Ideal.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like a strange hothouse blossom, Dead Can Dance brought exotic colors to the post-punk scene when they emerged in the ‘80s. Singers Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry used the exalted gloom of Medieval European music as a departure point, then added international influences along with a modern rhythmic sensibility. Spleen and Ideal — first released in 1985, then remastered for a 2008 edition — marks an early high point in the band’s now-storied career. In these thickly atmospheric tracks, DCD lyrically invoke the spirit of French decadent poet Charles Baudelaire as they explore the nexus between sensual indulgence and spiritual obsession. Tracks like “De Profundis (Out of the Depths of Sorrow)” and “Circumradiant Dawn” are solemn, sinister liturgies, relieved by the serpentine pulsations animating “The Cardinal Sin” and “Indoctrination (A Design for Living).” Middle Eastern rhythms add a swirling texture to “Mesmerism” and “Avatar.” Throughout, Gerrard’s ethereal vocals transcend language, while Perry’s baritone conveys a priest-like authority. Dead Can Dance broadened its scope in later albums – but for rich, dark beauty, they rarely bested Spleen and Ideal.

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