Reared and engineered in the Suffolk outback, The Shadow Project would probably be the last people you'd envisage being able to capture the less-than-idyllic subtleties of a claustrophobic ciy mixed with a yearning for wide open spaces into just over three-quarters-of-an-hour's worth of mind-bogglingly gorgeous music.
As mesmeric as any exponents of the much-maligned post-rock genre you care to mention, A Beauty To Fight For bleeds ambition, despair and an ultimate desire to push itself one step further with every passing moment.
Comparisons with other artists are always going to be inevitable, and obviously the likes of A Silver Mt. Zion (minus the unnecessary marathons), Sigur Ros and Los Planetos Del Agua all spring to mind for various reasons. The former and latter for daring to breach all rules and conformed expectations, the more feted Icelandic quartet for being able to make their guitars say infinitely more than a thousand words ever could, or would even need to. The fact that Mandy Parnell, so instrumental in the creation of _()_, is on mastering duties here may also be of some significance.
Vocals, then, if you haven't gathered already, are quite sparse across this record - opener 'All The Pretty Things' glides along like a pebble across a tranquil sea, before building rapidly into a hushed mantra of "It's not gonna save us now!", sinister but simple.
Elsewhere, the glacial 'We Found Ourselves...' and '...And All Is Fine' follow each other like a two-part serial, while the closing epic that is 'Don't Be A Stranger', complete with samples of the tide coming in at Felixstowe, is the perfect accompaniment to a sunny day of peaceful oblivion.
The only downside here is that The Shadow Project may find themselves dismissed as being just another post-rock act, but give A Beauty To Fight For at least half a dozen listens, as another new horizon emerges with every one.
7Dom Gourlay's Score