In Strict Confidence

Exile Paradise

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Listening to this well-crafted, occasionally hooky, and often downright lovely album, one can imagine the pierced and leathered industrial and EBM cognoscenti sniffing in derision. In some ways, In Strict Confidence is a band that opposes everything its members hold dear: how are you going to ├ępater les bourgeois using melodies, a female singer with a pretty voice, and songs written in major keys, for crying out loud? But for those who enjoy the basic elements of this musical genre but get tired of all the cookie-cutter bands out there plying slight variations on the same snarling electro riff -- and who don't mind a nice melodic hook now and then -- Exile Paradise comes as a real breath of fresh air. Highlights include the lovely "Promised Land," the subtly complex "Something to Remember," and "Regicide," a song that beautifully balances the group's twin tendencies towards aggro harshness and pop melodicism. Their ability to write English lyrics that aren't embarrassing is an added bonus. Recommended.

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