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Dead Can Dance - Spleen and Ideal CD (album) cover

SPLEEN AND IDEAL

Dead Can Dance

 

Prog Folk

3.66 | 125 ratings

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A Crimson Mellotron
4 stars Haunting and cinematic, 'Spleen And Ideal' is an album that never ceases to blow my mind every time I dabble into the Dead Can Dance universe. Carefully crafted, with immense attention to creating a sonic atmosphere that cannot be mistaken, this second album is still my favorite by the duo consisting of Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard.

I have always found the magic of this album to be beyond what one can hear, it is in the very order of every note, the experience of listening to this with full attention, it is in the way every line is sang, should there be lyrical content; all this is elevated by the eclectic set of instrumentation that accompanies the musical ideas - cellos, timpanis, violins, trombones, guitars, and a pounding bass guitar on a few occasions.

Another strong moment for the album is the cathartic and unforgettable cover, a photograph depicting a building in the very moment of detonation, contemplated by a girl that is holding a plastic star - a contradictory and thought-provoking image that is as arcane as the music on the record.

The first side is surely the more solemn one, quite 'monumentally' performed with the big orchestral sounds, eerie vocal harmonies by Lisa Gerrard, and hypnotic drum beats. 'De Profundis' strongly resembles a liturgy, and the holy feels is really embracing you as you go through this album opener, and 'Circumradiant Dawn' has this prevailing medieval feel. The more gothic rock 'The Cardinal Sin' is for me a Dead Can Dance staple, just like 'Ascension' which is so heavily atmospheric and 'Mesmerism' - the elevating nature of these songs is definitely something that was a desired outcome, and a gracefully achieved one.

Side two should then be the more magical side, the darker and more aerial one - here the grandiosity is at the back, and fore comes the 'sacrament' of the duo, in a way. 'Advent' is seriously intense and even menacing, with sheltering vocals by Brendan Perry, 'Avatar' is an expansive track with a really vibrant energy, and 'Indoctrination' is very gloomy but slightly inferior to what comes before it.

This is a very unusual album, not an 'every day listen', one definitely needs to be in a spiritual need for something different musically because this record can truly satisfy such cravings. Highly recommended for people who want to hear an 80s album that has nothing to do with 80s popular music, something darker, more atmospheric and hypnotic.

A Crimson Mellotron | 4/5 |

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