Dead Can Dance – Spleen and Ideal (1986)

There are bands and there are myths, legends. There are bands playing music and bands creating music, inventing new approaches, discovering new dimensions, tear down walls and open brand new highways. There are bands with one or two best records and bands with all their records being best ones. Some says, in the existence of the band the second album is the most important and it proves if the band have or haven’t potential. “Spleen and Ideal”, released on 1st September 1986 (in Australia), was Dead Can Dance’s second album and the band consist of Gerrard and Perry decided to abandon guitars in favor of classic symphonic instruments such as cello, trombones and timpani. A serious decision and one which probably change the course of the band’s history, but not only.

Dead Can Dance formed in Melbourne, Australia, in August 1981 with Paul Erikson on bass guitar, Lisa Gerrard (ex-Microfilm) on vocals, Simon Monroe (Marching Girls) on drums and Brendan Perry (Marching Girls) on vocals and guitar. Gerrard and Perry were also couple in their private life as well. They left Erikson and Monroe in Australia when they moved to London in May 1982, where they signed with alternative rock label 4AD Records.
The group’s debut album, Dead Can Dance, appeared in February 1984 and it was a gloomy mixture of gothic rock, post-punk and ethereal dark wave, “featured drum-driven, ambient guitar music with chanting, singing and howling”.
For their second album, “Spleen and Ideal”, the group comprised the core duo of Gerrard and Perry worked with session musicians: Gus Ferguson and Martin McGarrick on cello, James Pinker and Tony Ayres on timpani, Richard Avison and Simon Hogg on trombone, Carolyn Costin on violin, Andrew Hutton soprano on “De Profundis”, and producer John A. Rivers.

Track list:

01. “De Profundis (Out of the Depths of Sorrow)” – 4:00
02. “Ascension” – 3:05
03. “Circumradiant Dawn” – 3:17
04. “The Cardinal Sin” – 5:29
05. “Mesmerism” – 3:53
06. “Enigma of the Absolute” – 4:13
07. “Advent” – 5:19
08. “Avatar” – 4:35
09. “Indoctrination (A Design for Living)” – 4:16

38 minutes of magic. Some strange, gloomy, medieval European sound with deep cathedral resonances are merged with ethereal dark wave resulting something unique.
The group built a following in Europe, and “Spleen and Ideal” reached No. 2 on the UK indie charts.

Dead Can Dance discography:

Dead Can Dance (1984)
Spleen and Ideal (1986)
Within the Realm of a Dying Sun (1987)
The Serpent’s Egg (1988)
Aion (1990)
Into the Labyrinth (1993)
Spiritchaser (1996)

In 1998, Dead Can Dance planned a follow-up to Spiritchaser, but the band separated before it was realised. One song from the recording sessions, “The Lotus Eaters”, was eventually released on the box set Dead Can Dance (1981-1998) and on the 2-disc compilation Wake (2003). Gerrard teamed with Pieter Bourke (Snog, Soma) to issue Duality in April 1998. Perry released Eye of the Hunter in October 1999.
Brendan Perry on his official forum on 12 May 2011 wrote: “I have been talking with Lisa Gerrard this past week with regard to recording a new DCD album this coming winter. We hope to complete the album by the summer of 2012 and then embark on an extensive two month world tour in late 2012.”

Dead Can Dance – Official Site

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