Friday, 12 January 2018

Dead Can Dance "Spleen And Ideal" (1986)

Freeing themselves of the Post-Punk shackles their Self Titled debut was wrapped within, the Australian duo take a shy stride toward the vivid world they would come to inhabit on Within The Realm. This humble and quaint beginning is an exploration of imagination with a striking sense of nostalgia from cultures lost to the perils of time. Whatever the duos inspiration and vision for their music was, I find myself always overcome by a sense of worldly, earthly epic within the roots of a simpler existence, close to mother nature yet drawn to mystic and esoteric.

Initially the record strikes me as a half way house, a transition of sound but so swiftly do the supposed short comings of this record evaporate as its atmosphere engrosses with its rolling repetition. Drum arrangements and especially the baselines have hang overs from the Post-Punk record beforehand. The base guitar pops and plucks at a steady, unshakable pace on almost every song as if it were backing thick walls of distortion guitar. The drum patterns are somewhat stiff and repetitive, always churning away as if a requirement. Ironically it maybe these droning elements that help conjure the atmosphere as they provide a sturdy hypnotic backbone for the duos voices and spell bounding keyboard melodies.

With higher fidelity production and a richer array of synthesized instruments the spark is ignited. Gerrard's resonating voice memorizes without dense guitars muddying the rapid vibrato texture in her singing. Perry's deep and wholesome words relish in the reverb afforded to him in a more spacious production. It all amounts to a wonderfully relaxing and vivid experience of simpler lives yet beneath it all lurks an undercurrent of something eerie and haunting that never surfaces, always lurking in distant shadows. Despite the sense of mortal coil it remains a rather warm and endearing listen.

Favorite Tracks: Advent, Indoctrination
Rating: 7/10

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