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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Dead Can Dance
Wake
4AD

Rating: 9/10 ?


November 13, 2006
In the intro to Dead Can Dance's "Rakim" Lisa Gerrard plays an Asian dulcimer, using two long quills percussively over tightly stretched strings. Deep, booming animal hide drums come in and set a steady pace for the track. Brendan Perry sings mostly unintelligible vocals over the growing field of sound; keyboards, more percussion and Gerrard's own vocal styling. The whole thing has the feel of some ancient Pagan ritual performed by twentieth century musical acolytes. Most of the instruments the duo plays were created from an animal or plant and there is an implied reverence for the natural world throughout most of their songs.

Both members of Dead Can Dance take their music very seriously and have perfected their craft with the skill and ear for detail that few musicians ever achieve. It could singularly be this attention to detail that makes Dead Can Dance so appealing to Goths; in the same way Goth kids spend copious amounts of time perfecting their look and mood, DCD spend as much time perfecting their sound. No instrument stands alone. Everything is layered - often several times over. Dead Can Dance has few contemporaries and no equal, a statement backed up track by track on Wake.

The new double-disc set chronicles Dead Can Dance's progress from their early 80's Darkwave work through the duo's last composition, "The Lotus Eaters." Disc one features mostly DCD's early Gothic songs while disc two breaks out of Europe and introduces African, Asian and American (both North and South) instruments and styles. The great thing about Wake is the chartable growth from a somewhat timid group, aping Bauhaus, into the contemporary, multi-instrument experiment in sounds both traditional and tribal that they ultimately became. In the beginning DCD buried their vocals, layering the voices in echo and under droning keys and guitar. By the end of Wake's first disc, Gerrard and Perry's vocal performances are a major highlight and are placed boldly out in front of the mix.

Highlights of Wake include "In Power We Trust The Love Advocated," which is the most pop friendly of the early DCD catalog. "The Enigma of the Absolute", the first song really hinting at what DCD would become, features a booming drum that crashes like waves upon the shipwrecked heroine of the song. Perry's gorgeous "Severance" will be familiar to some readers because it is regularly covered in concert by Bauhaus. There is also the sadomasochistic "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove" a song driven hard by the sound of a whip-crack. "I Can See Now" and "American Dreaming", two of the live offerings from Toward The Within, illustrate Perry's reverence for folk hero Tim Buckley.

These songs are not going to appeal to everyone, and a fair number of listeners will undoubtedly make the mistake of dismissing Dead Can Dance's style as World Music. Many will come to the duo unprepared for the intensive nature of these dense, multi-layered tracks. This music to savor and devour like a six-course meal. There are complexities here that will most definitely piss-off punks who hate anything containing more than three chords. For the rest of us Wake presents an opportunity to hear the rise and climax of one of the most talented bands to ever exist.

Reviewed by Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LASís editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other reviews by Jon Burke

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