Breathless have always been a band that has by-passed the traditional record/release/tour cycle. Their music doesn’t lend itself to these rigours, simply due to the subjects they tackle.
“And all the morning glows anew / Still your soul and still your mind/ For still the fire of our love is true/ And I am breathless without you,” sings Dominic Appleton at the end of the atmospheric dirge that My Heart and I.
This is one of the many examples whereby a certain amount of life has to be lived to produce this kind of art. And on Breathless’ first in 10 years, See Those Colours Fly, once again they deliver the kind of messages that have been breaking our hearts for decades.
The This Mortal Coil collaborator is once again joined by Ari Neufeld, Gary Mundy and Tristram Latimer Sayer, and on See Those Colours Fly Breathless’ present further proof that few of contemporaries have captured the sunken gloom they ceaselessly operate in.
With the assistance of the dream-pop marvel, Kramer (Galaxie 500, Damon & Naomi), his sparse recording techniques harness Breathless’ sermons of loss. Yes, this isn’t music where the blow is softened by a third person protagonist, as Appleton fearlessly cuts through at the coal face with the kind of songs that can only be presented by someone who has experienced indifferent times and dealt with them accordingly. Once again, Breathless emit their message with a defiant lustre.
With Looking for the Words and Let Me Down Gently we are met with forlorn hymn-scapes and syncopated rhythms that slowly ring out, unmasking a sadness few in art these days can match. There are illuminated segments of lost love (Let Me Down Gently) and searing heartbreak (So Far From Love); all Breathless hallmarks but weighed down further by the exposure of time and moments lived.
The Party’s Not Over and The City Never Sleeps boast the rich arrangements that pass of a vibe reminiscent of The Church. Breathless themselves haven’t been immune to the full of dream-gaze assault either, with So Far From Love rivalling the elusive brawn from 1987 LP, Three Times and Waiting.
Hunting demons through melody and chiming guitars, Somewhere Out of Reach and the luscious epic closing track, I Watch You Sleep are like soundtracks scored by angels. Desolate diatribes that melt the soul, and if we didn’t already know it then this is proof: Breathless make music designed for lonely orbits.
See Those Colours Fly is an album for a certain time. However, Breathless have always been this band, and while that hasn’t changed in a career that has spanned over 30 years, they share more poetic snippets of life while still managing to refine their sound to something pure and grandiose. It may just be their finest moment committed to tape yet.
See Those Colours Fly is out now via Tenor Vossa Records Ltd. Purchase here.