Photo by Dennis Keeley

Shadowland are another one of those ’60s-oriented bands, but this time with a little bit of a twist. While you’ll hear sitars and tablas and the odd burst of weird stuff on "Sweet Mystery," and it’s really the sort of ’60s orientation that allows for other influences. There’s a little bit of R.E.M.-style Georgia acoustic rock here and there; there’s a feel that’s got a little Lou Reed and a little Led Zeppelin on "Heroin Eyes," yet doesn’t get into that endless nasally drone. In some respects, part of the direction that Shadowland seems to want to take is a mix of Tom Petty and Creedence Clearwater, with a touch of clean Beach Boys-style harmonies.

This isn’t a thin mix by any means — these guys are quite capable of starting quietly and breaking into a full-fledged wall of sound at a moment’s notice (which they do at least one time too many, leading you to anticipate that everything that starts slowly is about to explode in crashing drums and roaring guitars). For all the divergence, too, it’s a surprisingly uniform album — even despite the "live in the studio" style of "Something On Your Mind," which has a good-naturedly ramshackle air about it, leaving it as one of the most engaging numbers on the album, along with the terrific "The Deepest Indigo Blue," which was apparently recorded with the band sleepy from an extremely long day; the relaxed air helps it considerably. The ’60s ambience certainly comes through, though —"Miss Yesterday" is the one consciously ’60s-oriented song, but then you also have "Evil That You Do," "The Deepest Indigo Blue," and "Sweet Mystery" sounding directly ’60s-inspired.

The nature of the whole album, for all the crashing around with percussion instruments, is organic, rather than technological, right down to the use of Rockfield Studios. The Beauty of Escaping is an entertaining album, good in terms of ambience, and certainly listenable, even when the songs are fitted with a message and fired point-blank at the listener.

Biography by Steven McDonald, All Music Guide

∙ Darren Rademaker – lead vocals, guitar
Brent Rademaker – bass, backing vocals
∙ Eddie Kurdziel – guitar
∙ Kevin Fitzgerald – drums, backing vocals
The Beauty of Escaping