Exile Inside - Exile Inside

Once upon a time in the shadow of the Ben Sherman Britpop boys lay a world where bands spend as much time in their dressing rooms as the did in the rehearsal rooms. It came with simple philosophy that the working classes always wanted to dress up at the weekend rather than dressing down and out of sheer poverty alone was born a scene where glamour met Oxfam chic. My Life Story were one of the leading ambassadors of the glamour scene with the likes of Kenickie, Orlando and David Devant and His Spirit Wife not far behind clasping their make up bags close to their chests. But before long that defiant spirit was crushed and gold Lame suits were replaced with denim jackets and worn jeans and Samson like the tunes went out the window as well. Violins were swapped for synthesizers and the cold summer hit in which My Life Story were left walking round like wounded dogs until the farewell Christmas shows.

Instead of trying to chase former glories, Jake Shillingford alongside Aaron Cahill, have decided to see Exile Inside as a clear break from the past. In fact the only recognizable trace of My Life Story is Shillingford's unique vocals and the neo-classical pop , albeit this time masqueraded in a mix of cheap electronica. When they actually strip down a track like "Antiques" to it's simplistic form of piano and vocals there's a hint of that old passions, but the love of language that MLS classic's such "Sparkle" or "Suited & Booted" were drenched in are replaced with mournful passages with the admission on the closing track "Goodbye" that "I need some new ideas. I need the feel the flame" somewhat of a two fingered insult to the Exile Investors who pledged their own money through the site to aide this recording.

From "Anaesthesia" through "I Can't Feel Anymore", "Antiques", "The Will To Live" and onto the closing "Goodbye" the album is an exercise is catharticism with self doubt playing on his mind from the outset. You'd love to think that Exile Inside could achieve something when bolstered by a full band and the charismatic presence of the glamour boys on stage, but you can't help but feel that maybe it's time for Shillingford to retire gracefully from the public spotlight before he ruins all that MLS achieved in one foul swoop.

Alex McCann

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