Dead Can Dance is the kind of artsy British band that American alternative rock purists revile. For years its U.S. following was synonymous with the "art-fag"--the kind of Anglophile who rushed out to buy the latest pricey, exquisitely packaged import from 4AD.Ironically, DCD eventually found itself another, much bigger audience, the mainstream, the constituency that buys world music, new age, and Gregorian chants.It makes sence. Mixing the chants with Middle Eastern, African, and Celtic textures, DCD weaves a post-modern tapestry out of pre-modern threads, fascinated by periods of history (the medieval era) and cultures (the third world) where there's no division between the secular and sacred, where everyday life is infused with ritual and meaning. Lisa Gerrard's voice is the piercing, ululating vibrato you hear throughout traditional music, the sound of women speaking to the spirits.Gerrard and partner Brendan Perry moved from Australia to London in the early '80s. Taking its title from Baudelaire, Spleen and Ideal is the flowering of all Dead Can Dance's Late Romantic obsessions with orientalism, medievalism, and arcana.With its liturgical feel and a timpani that resounds like God's own fist, "De Profundis" oozes stern religiosity, while the serpentine "Mesmerism" is the closest DCD gets to a pop song.