Behind the Light

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With their sixth album in an 18-year span, Breathless -- an offshoot of ethereal 4AD troupe This Mortal Coil -- resembles the softer side of Spiritualized on the haunting and decidedly moody Behind the Light. Subdued, devotional experiments like "After All These Years" and "Stay Beside You" benefit from vocalist/brainchild Dominic Appleton -- who continues to give the group its identity courtesy of his innovative, near-whispered delivery. Still, Appleton's cohorts rarely slouch, as Breathless veers into noisier soundscapes than fans of 1991's landmark Between Happiness and Heartache might be used to. The best result of this boldness is "And So the Dream Goes On," where a wall-of-guitar feel borders on symphonic. While the four-part epic known as "Closer" qualifies as overdone, the soothing instrumental "Fade" takes Behind the Light out on an emotive, winsome note.

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