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Spleen and Ideal is the second studio album by Irish / Australian musical act Dead Can Dance. It was released on 25 November 1985 by record label 4AD. The album features a transition between the band's post-punk and gothic rock-influenced debut album towards a darkwave style.

Spleen and Ideal
Spleen and Ideal.jpg
Studio album by Dead Can Dance
Released 25 November 1985
Recorded September–November 1985 at Woodbine Studios, Warwickshire, England
Genre Dark wave, neoclassical dark wave, gothic rock, ethereal wave
Length 38:11
Label 4AD
Producer Dead Can Dance, John A. Rivers
Dead Can Dance chronology
Garden of the Arcane Delights
(1984)Garden of the Arcane Delights1984
Spleen and Ideal
Within the Realm of a Dying Sun
(1987)Within the Realm of a Dying Sun1987



The band's official website stated that the album title was taken "from 19th Century symbolist ideals". The title is directly taken from "Spleen et Idéal", a collection of poems by French poet Charles Baudelaire which form a section of his magnum opus Les Fleurs du mal.

Discussing the album's musical style, AllMusic commented that with Spleen and Ideal, Dead Can Dance "fully took the plunge into the heady mix of musical traditions that would come to define its sound and style for the remainder of its career. The straightforward goth affectations are exchanged for a sonic palette and range of imagination".[1]

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Dead Can Dance.

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "De Profundis (Out of the Depths of Sorrow)" 4:00
2. "Ascension" 3:05
3. "Circumradiant Dawn" 3:17
4. "The Cardinal Sin" 5:29
5. "Mesmerism" 3:53
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Enigma of the Absolute" 4:13
2. "Advent" 5:19
3. "Avatar" 4:35
4. "Indoctrination (A Design for Living)" 4:16

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic      [1]

In a retrospective review, AllMusic praised the album, calling it "amazing [...] 'haunting' and 'atmospheric' barely [scratch] even the initial surface of the album's power".[1]

Release historyEdit

Country Date
UK 25 November 1985
United States 8 March 1994

Chart historyEdit

Chart Position
UK Indie Chart 2


  • Lisa Gerrard – vocals, all other instruments, production
  • Brendan Perry – vocals, all other instruments, production, sleeve art direction
  • Gus Ferguson – cello
  • Martin McCarrick – cello
  • James Pinker – timpani
  • Tony Ayres – timpani
  • Richard Avison – trombone
  • Simon Hogg – trombone
  • Carolyn Costin – violin
  • Andrew Hutton – soprano vocals on track 1
  • John A. Rivers – production, engineering
  • Jonathan Dee – engineering
  • Colin Gray – sleeve photography


External linksEdit