Will You Speak This Word

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Following up 3 with an even more intriguing if in some ways impenetrable album, Dome concluded its regular existence with Will You Speak This Word. Split into a five-song second half and a side-long start -- the 18 minute collage piece "To Speak" -- Will You Speak furthers the duo's love of pursuing worldwide inspirations and then processing them through its own mysterious, sonically bleak outlook. The most surprising guest performer on the album is Vince Clarke, then in his Yaz days between Depeche Mode and Erasure, who appears on Fairlight synth for "To Speak." Given that the piece is anything but the light, catchy pop he is most often known for, it's a radical move but his work slots into the Dome aesthetic easily, alongside additional participants on violin, sax, and extra vocals. Lewis' lead chanting on "To Speak," repeating the title phrase over and over again while a vaguely Middle Eastern melody appears through murk, provides as much of a hook as any. The track as a whole is reminiscent of David Bowie's work on the second, instrumental side of Low. On the second half, the varying tracks continue the overall mood, with sounds like both live drums and sampled rhythms used at any particular time. If not as viciously threatening as the work done by, say, late Psychic TV, the low, mysterious crawls and calls on tracks like "Seven Year" and "Atlas" aren't exactly easy listening music per se. Lewis continues his entertainingly sepulchral approach on the odd lyric that crops up on some of the songs. It's a bit like his persona from the 154 album beaten even further into the ground, floating like a strange ghost or calling out strange, distorted information from somewhere deep in the mix.