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Dead Can Dance - Dead Can Dance CD (album) cover


Dead Can Dance


Prog Folk

3.32 | 92 ratings

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2 stars In the early 90s, before prog's real resurgence stirred by the equivalent of animated whispers across the internet sea, this old prog fan had to content himself with reminiscences and the occasional echoes of world music influenced pop within earshot. So it was that in 1992 or so, I became exposed to DEAD CAN DANCE via a hip friend in a west end Vancouver apartment. I'm not sure how big a fan of the group he was other than a couple of contemporaneous albums, but if there is one thing a listen to their debut disk suggests, it's that, while we might not have acknowledged it in 1992, music reached a nadir 10 years prior and DCD was one of the groups to clean up its act and thrive.

This is emotionally and spiritually cold comfort with few exceptions, and those chiefly when the group sounds like the better acts of those dark days. A case in point is "A Passage in Time", which, as a 2nd rate SIMPLE MINDS, is a major highlight. It's fine to have muffled and robotic music if the voices aren't, or vice versa, or if you opt for unbroken doom and gloom like JOY DIVISION at their best. I'm sure those better versed in this era can pick out closer points of comparison, but it matters little. Even the common ancestors of the later DCD sound seem timid at this point, such as the undeveloped "Frontier".

In general, DCD are best here at their most ambient, in the eerie "Ocean" and "Musica Eternal", which help raise the bar sufficiently to, if not compensate for the utterly vapid majority of pieces, at least justify a tenuous hold on the second rung. Well, at this stage they pretty much got the dead part down pat.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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