Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ALBUMS YOU NEED TO OWN #1: Sex & Violins: The Best Of MY LIFE STORY



In the '90s, while Britpop was ruling the airwaves, many folks outside the UK were too busy paying attention to the often boring albums released by all the BIG names of the genre including Oasis, Blur, Pulp and others. Sure, these bands put out some amazing records, but their immense fame enabled them to lose touch with reality and, worst of all, their fanbase.
While these band fought a decent fight to stay in the charts, there was one band who may not have captured your attention initially, but were far more deserving of your time and well-earned money: MY LIFE STORY.
The band was led by singer/songwriter JAKE SHILLINGFORD, who had a musical vision that far exceeded anyone else's imagination at the time. Shillingford was able to successfully mix the drama of a Bond theme with the bombast of ABC's Lexicon Of Love album mixed with the emotional fragility of solo Marc Almond and the suave and sexy moodiness of Scott Walker, creating a sound that recalled the aforementioned influences but retained it's own unique qualities.
My Life Story released three albums (Mornington Crescent, A Golden Mile and Joined Up Talking) and a slew of great singles in their relatively short career (1995-2000). Although they achieved Top 40 success in the UK, Shillingford's musical vision came to an end before they could even release a note of music in the U.S.!
Released in 2006, Sex & Violins: The Best Of My Life Story is an absolutely perfect introduction to the band. It includes some of the finest Pop singles you're likely to hear in your lifetime including "Sparkle", "Strumpet", "If You Can't Live Without Me Then Why Aren't You Dead Yet?", "Empire Line", "12 Reasons Why I Love Her" and many others. Not a dull moment here folks. This is pretty much what great Pop music is all about: big, bombastic, dramatic, fun, emotional and fantastic!
If you dig this, you might want to check out the two CD rarities and b-sides collection Megaphone Theology, which contains 40 more great tracks including demos, b-sides and more.
After laying My Life Story to rest, Shillingford formed the Electronic band Exile Inside, releasing two albums: Ei034 and Ei060.
In 2008, Shillingford then released his debut solo album, Written Large, which contains Jake accompanied by acoustic guitar and piano, revisiting songs from his catalog as well as brand new material. The album is perhaps the prettiest thing he's released yet.
Let's hope Shillingford continued to release music. If he does, then I'll always be there to listen... and tell YOU about it!





You don't sparkle,
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

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