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World Music CD Reviews Australia & Oceania

Dead Can Dance

By Rob Weir
Published December 15, 2006

Memento
Rhino

Between 1981 and 1996, Dead Can Dance was a favorite among the alternative music crowd. Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard were “alternative” by default, as they borrowed from so many genres that no category could contain them. Memento pulls tracks from their entire 15-year collaboration and each selection sounds fresh and familiar at once. Gerrard can sing with the ambient lushness of Enya, or release a primal pain borrowed from Irish keening and Middle Eastern mourning ceremonies. Musically, one will hear echoes of Goth, electronica, trance and world beat rhythms from every continent except Antarctica. If all this isn’t enough, consider that Perry gives us several offerings that could be lost Jim Morrison tracks: the gender-bending “The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove,” and the Brecht-set-to-music “How Fortunate The Man With None.” From yet another angle, “The Carnival Is Over” sounds like Frank Sinatra arranged by Nelson Riddle on a wigged-out bender. Call this where postmodernism and post-mortem collide. And here’s the postscript: DCD has reunited (initially just to plug this compilation, but now apparently for good) and spent much of 2005 touring.