What Starts, Ends

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The first album by Rubicon -- basically the U.K. goth rockers Fields of the Nephilim with Andy Delany replacing Carl McCoy on vocals -- is a less pretentious and slightly poppier effort than anything the previous incarnation had managed. (Think Love and Rockets, not Bauhaus.) A huge part of the change is Delany's much less over the top voice, a controlled baritone subtly reminiscent of Peter Murphy and, at times, Peter Gabriel. McCoy also seems to have taken the Nephilims' occasional metallic tendencies with him; What Starts, Ends is a collection of ten lengthy, moody pop songs with occasional feints toward ambient music in spots, as in the lengthy coda to the gently propulsive "Brave Hearts." There's little that's revolutionary on What Starts, Ends, and indeed, some fans of Fields of the Nephilim might consider its pop songs a step backwards. Fans of the artsier end of goth rock (Univers Zero, Controlled Bleeding, various artists on the Belgian Crammed Discs label) will appreciate it, though.

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