Dead Can Dance: Anastasis

Estranged partners from 4AD Records days Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard reunite.

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Anastasis is an allusion to resurrection, or revival. Not quite like the mod anastasis or ska anastasis. This is Dead Can Dance, and the reunion is pitched as a holy transcendence of the mere mortal or finite.

This idea is taken up on Children Of The Sun on which a Scott Walker-esque Brendan Perry consoles us that much as we came from the sun and ocean, to them we shall return, though one doubts we’ll know much about it.

Perry and Gerrard are steeped in philosophy, literature and ethnological study. And yet, for all its imperious beauty, there is a hollow, Gothic grandiosity about Anastasis. It doesn’t help that Gerrard lent her wordless sonorities to the mood music of Gladiator – tracks like Agape feel like the ambient plunder of TV travelogue, cinematic cliché, music to contemplate the sun setting over the pyramids to.

None of which is to say it isn’t impressive – the opening, Moroccan arch-like strings and stately rhythmical procession of Kiko is just the sort of thing to feed the loyal Dead Can Dance-loving troops.

But yesterday’s awesome post-punk Gothic majesty is today’s polished, mainstream soundtrack cliché. Production values have moved on; a little more nuance and more micro-detailing in the soundscaping of Anastasis would have helped.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.