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Dead Can Dance Are Back Together: Should You Care?

Posted by August 9th, 2012 No Comments »

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Dead Can Dance @ Marymoor Park
Friday, August 10, 2012  

When I was in the fifth grade, my uncle Jim Toohey sent me two cassette tapes for my birthday: Echo & the Bunnymen’s Ocean Rain and Speaking in Tongues by the Talking Heads. This event essentially launched my long infatuation with the odder side of rock and pop music.

More than 20 years later, Jim now lives in Seattle and takes photographs, so he seemed like a natural candidate to shoot tomorrow night’s Dead Can Dance show at Marymoor Park.

Like many of the formative bands from the early days of the “alternative” and “independent” music movements, DCD have reunited after a long hiatus – 16 years in this case. The Australian band operated from London from from 1982 to 1998, releasing nine albums, the bulk of them on seminal label 4AD Records (Breeders, Mojave 3, Pixies).

In preview of the show, I asked Jim if readers should care about the band’s reunion tour or their new album Anastasis, which you can stream now and purchase on Tuesday, August 14. Dead Can Dance are back together. Should anyone care?
Jim Toohey: The “getting back together” concept is always loaded with complications. If the band’s sound and emotional energy are in a listener’s wheelhouse then Dead Can Dance will be a great discovery for those new listeners. Meanwhile, longtime fans like me might care too much – we run the risk of inflated expectations.

NM: It seems like all of our formative 80s and 90s bands are reuniting. Will DCD pull it off? Or will this only detract from their legend?
JT: I am sure it will be wonderful….oops, here come those expectations. It is best to let it flow, stay unattached and find out for yourself tomorrow night.

NM: Tell us about your first memory of this band. What drew you to their music?
JT: I learned about DCD and the Cocteau Twins on the same day. I remember that moment precisely – both bands have remained with me sever since. With DCD, I am drawn to the visual and spiritual qualities of the music. It reaches deep inside and touches a part of me that I wish to energize. It’s like a joyful, never ending daydream that you can dance to.

NM: What appeals to you visually about DCD? What will you be looking for when you shoot?
JT: They are such a visual band and have such a visual sound. I can close my eyes and see Lisa Gerrard, angelic and beautiful, on the stage now. I’ve been thinking a lot about shooting from different spots to get different perspectives, but it’s best to go with the flow and shoot what moves me. The goal is to capture the heart of the band and share that with people who can’t make it to the show.

NM: In addition to touring, they are putting out a new album. Will it suck?
JT: I am going to go with a 10 percent chance of suck; a 35 percent chance that it sounds like one of their older albums (which is good); a 35 percent chance that there is something new, or that the album carries with it the added wisdom of 16 years; and a 15 percent chance of ” fill in the blank.” I am very happy they did a new album though. I like the first song, “Amenesia.”

For more on Dead Can Dance visit their website. See some of Jim Toohey’s pictures from the Capitol Hill Block Party on our Flickr page.

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