lunedì 1 agosto 2011

My Life Story "Mornington Crescent"

Album d'esordio per My Life Story e già si delinea un sound inconfondibile. (1998 - Parlophone)

Jake Shillingford's My Life Story are a magnificent conceit: a low budget, high gloss revue led by a foppish cross between Anthony Newley, Martin Fry and Jarvis Cocker. Jake's vision takes in Larry Parnes and Soho showbiz, Bond theme glamour, acres of strings and brass and elaborately camp gestures.
It will either make you laugh or cringe. And 'Mornington Crescent' - a posh sounding dump on the edge of Camden, a closed down tube station, a Radio 4 game no-one understands, and the place where Jake hatched the plot while leafleting for the Camden Palace venue - is a magnificent failure of a debut album.
A failure? Particularly in a five song mid-album stretch beginning with the overwrought 'Triumphant' and ending with the self-conscious John Barry-isms of 'Forever', in which Jake's cockernee vocal mannersims and reliance on the epic obscure the band's strong points.
But those strengths - thoughtful, unpredictable arrangements; attention to songwriting detail; Jake's sense of occasion - make the majority of the album an absorbing trawl through a world where Jake remains in the gutter staring at the stars while even the most mundane happening becomes a source of drama and intrigue.
The revenge of the dreamer reaches giddy pop heights with 'You Don't Sparkle' where Jake is "The greatest living singer/Stuck inside a damp bedsitter"; the early Teardrop Explodes swagger of 'Motorcade' and the 'Diamonds Are Forever' steals and cheers metaphors of '(Theme From) Checkmate'.
All complete and almost sneering with self-confidence. But its album closer 'Angel', a simple story of falling in love told from the woman's perspective, where Jake reveals dimensions only hinted at elsewhere.
For once the wordplay serves a genuinely touching purpose, and the strings are given space to build and create an air of graceful melancholia. The result is truly lovely.
'Mornington Crescent' does enough to prove that Jake Shillingford has a real talent behind the carefully contrived facade.
It may reside in a "damp bedsitter" now - but the penthouse to match his ambition is beckoning. (Gary Mulholland - New Musical Express)

- Forever
- Girl A, Girl B, Girl C
- (Theme From) Checkmate
- Under The Ice
- Motorcade
- The Penthouse In The Basement
- Angel
- Up The Down Escalator
- Funny Ha Ha
- You Don't Sparkle (In My Eyes)
- Triumphant
- Bullets Fly
- Star Colliding
- The Lady Is A Tramp
- These Words Are Haunting
- First Person Singular
- Stood Among Friends


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