Rediscovering Death In June

Saturday, 16 September 2000 19:00 Brian Conniffe Opinions and Editorials - Deep Thoughts
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First off, let me get this out of the way: I have only recently discovered DIJ, though being a fan of Coil and Current 93.
  I had heard the name being bounced around (usually between two poles of opinion). I'll also point out that 'ambiguous' politics attributed to this band made me overtly cautious. Still, I tried to approach the music with an open mind. What can be said about Death In June? It is the elegant musical vehicle of one Douglas Pearce; a curious gent with not only a grim demeanour, but also what seems to be cruel wit and a sense of pantomime and pomp which leers in a distinctly Teutonic direction. Indeed, one wonders whether or not his lust for fascist uniform and imagery is merely a joke extended to and beyond its logical conclusion. Because this stuff is heavy with dramatic irony and a humour as black as deepest despair. Importantly though, Douglas is a very talented man, with a magnificent voice. His music ends up sounding as an entrancing and often very beautiful cross between Joy Division and Dead Can Dance. Musical opposites are united constantly. Beauty and cruelty do walk hand in hand, both thematically and in execution. For example, "To Drown A Rose" is a vitriolic slice of misanthropy in the saccharine camouflage of a lovely pop song. The title tracks of two of the strongest Death In June albums- "But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter" and "Rose Clouds of Holocaust"- are elegiac fanfares at sunset, deep with melancholy. On "She Said Destroy" however, an unseen line between being a military or a Pet Shop Boys anthem is crossed.
Some may not ever take an interest in this band for various reasons, but there is undoubtedly some wonderful stuff to be found here. The "Disc Riminate" double CD compilation has been re-released recently, but I would suggest that one goes straight for the albums proper. "But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter" and "Take Care and Control" are two elusive but perfect masterpieces.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2005 11:46