I think it’s what politely referred to as a “senior moment”. Some months ago I discovered a rather good electronic / neo-classical CD by the Shadow Orchestra (reviewed here) who I’d mistaken for The Shadow Project, of whom I’d heard some good things. Then when I spotted this, I suffered the exact opposite confusion – thinking it was another Shadow Orchestra record. I think my brain is just too full of irrelevant trivia and needs a serious defragment.
Happily, both errors led me to stumble upon something good, so I’m not complaining too much. The Shadow Project are a five or six piece band (depending whether you believe the CD or the website) who weave the same kind of melancholic pop, electronica and post-rock hybrid that Piano Magic excel at. A Beauty To Fight For (which came out in June 2007 – who says I’m not fast off the blocks!)has many passages of graceful beauty, some of stormy intensity and a few patches of misanthropic miserabilism.
Opener “All The Pretty Things” is the ‘grand statement’, but there are better tracks on the record. “Never Come Down” is an instrumental that starts out like the Durutti Column before threatening to build into the big clichéd rock finish, but pulls away at the last. “We Found Ourselves…And All Is Fine” begins with a answerphone monologue, but builds into a sweeping Port-Royalesque grandiose thing ending with swathes of guitar. Some of the songs do stray a bit too close to indie-schmindie territory for my liking, but thankfully those moments are few. I’m not over-keen on the middle class emo kid whining of the spoken word bit on “Voices” (otherwise a fine track). These are mere nit-picks, though. A Beauty To Fight For is an enjoyable hour of cinematic, moody music that by and large breaks free of the indie straitjacket and is all the more interesting for it. It’s all that the Hope Of The States were hyped up to be, but clearly weren’t. Hopefully, future records will see them expand their horizons further rather than round off their edges. Recommended.
1. All The Pretty Things (6:32)
2. Never Come Down (4:58)
3. We Found Ourselves… (1:45)
4. …And All Is Fine (3:51)
5. Being Here (So Confusing) (6:24)
6. Accept What You Destroy (6:15)
7. A Beauty To Fight For (6:29)
8. Voices (5:17)
9. Your Sky’s On Fire (6:52)
10. Don’t Be A Stranger (9:07)