Thursday, February 05, 2009

dead can dance - dead can dance

Despite mankind's onward climb towards civilisation there is the sense that the primitive pagan elements of life are never far away, whether it is the underlying violence that simmers in society, erupting in occasional bouts of violence (whether by the knife or by the gun), the superstitions that many continue to practice on a daily basis (however idiotic it seems I cannot go under ladders, put new shoes on the table or open an umbrella inside), or the attraction of simplistic, tribal influenced music, that manifests itself in repetitive and hypnotic rhythms. The kind of music which grabs you in blind reverie and taps into those shadowy parts of your brain which have eluded evolution and the increased sophistication and complexity of modern day living.  And so - Leaping into consciousness with the sound of explosions, ecstatic yelps and compelling rhythms of The Fatal Impact, the debut from Dead Can Dance captures the imagination with the power of its primal borrowings.  Singers Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry yelp, glower, sigh and yodel their way through musical atmospheres reminiscent of the wildest terrain, resolutely earthly but soaring unearthly, seeming to explore the baser instincts of the human psyche ready to burst from the civilised shell at a moment's provocation, as well as its great beauty.  Songs like A Passage in Time and The Trial are dark and elegant, as 'Gothic' as they come; Frontier like the Cocteau Twins had they emerged from the rain-forest.  Despite the shadows they evoke it's not all darkness - the restless shifts of Ocean have a subtle beauty that recalls the sunlight glinting on the waves, whilst East of Eden effects a, dare I say it, jaunty tone that lightens the mood even where the lyrics do not, until the shivers of Threshold return us to the cold.  

To prove their power - The Trial live (1986):

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