Long before No Doubt brought back ska and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy resurrected swing, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry were making music that recalled an earlier time. How early? Try the Renaissance. Everything old--really
old--is new again on Aion
, the band's fifth and arguably finest album. Like DCD's other discs, Aion
revolves around the interplay between Gerrard's soaring glossolalia and Perry's baritone crooning. A range of styles are explored, from the polyphonic choral heights of "The Arrival and the Reunion" to the smooth balladry of "Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book" to the Middle Eastern sensuality of "Radharc". Other standout tracks include the playful "Saltarello", a traditional 14th-century instrumental dance piece, and "As the Bell Rings the Maypole Spins", a strikingly melodic song carried by bagpipes and Gerrard's angelic voice. --Steve Landau
* Remastered from the original tapes and pressed on 180g vinyl with heavyweight sleeve and newly designed inner bags. A true cult act, in every sense of the word, DCD are 4ADs biggest selling act. In 1980, Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, both of Anglo-Irish extraction, met in Melbourne, Australia. In 1982, they moved to London and the next year sign to 4AD. In March 84, they release their first album, a collection of the songs they have written over the previous four years. It is simply entitled Dead Can Dance. Since that 1984 debut their sound was becoming less drilling and pounding and more serene. Nevermore so than on Aion. Released in 1990 it once again sees its emphasis on the liturgical and secular music of the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance, and of the 12 tracks (nine self written) only two, Fortune Presents Gifts Not According To The Book (a parable written by Luis De Gongora) and Black Sun (a typical apocalyptic tale littered with references to death, disease and famine) are sung in English. The rest (with the exception of three instrumentals) are a mixture of Latin, Spanish dialect, Bulgarian and Arabic stunningly articulated by Lisa Gerrard. Of these As The Bell Rings The Maypole Spins complements her tremulous vocals with the mournful skirl of bagpipes, Radharc suffused with a heady swirl of Arabian strings and The End Of Words, a simple chant, stand out as the highlights. Aion is a sumptuously textured work that deserves to be appreciated by more than just established fans. The band have since gone on to sell over 1 MILLION ALBUMS WORLDWIDE.