Spleen and Ideal

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

Spleen and Ideal
Dead Can Dance - Spleen and Ideal album cover.png
Studio album by
Released25 November 1985
RecordedSeptember–November 1985
StudioWoodbine (Warwickshire, England)
  • Dead Can Dance
  • John A. Rivers
Dead Can Dance chronology
Garden of the Arcane Delights
Spleen and Ideal
Within the Realm of a Dying Sun


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 are written by Dead Can Dance.

1."De Profundis (Out of the Depths of Sorrow)"4:00
3."Circumradiant Dawn"3:17
4."The Cardinal Sin"5:29
6."Enigma of the Absolute"4:13
9."Indoctrination (A Design for Living)"4:16

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
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


  1. ^ a b c Raggett, Ned. "Spleen and Ideal – Dead Can Dance". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 February 2013.

External linksEdit