My Life Story

The Golden Mile

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With a bigger budget to support his delusions of grandeur, Jake Shillingford takes My Life Story completely over the top with their major-label debut, The Golden Mile. Shillingford hasn't grown much as a lyricist -- if anything, his witticisms and asides are cutesier and more banal than before -- but his sense of melody has sharpened, making the single "12 Reasons Why I Love Her" and "Sparkle" shimmer. Unfortunately, these are the exceptions, not the rule. Too often, the music is weighed down by Shillingford's preciousness and its own pretentiousness, which has the effect of making the weakest moments on the record -- "You Can't Uneat the Apple," "Mr. Boyd," the matching "April 1st" and "November 5th," and the ludicrous "The King of Kissingdom" -- seem positively comical. Even so, the lush, glossy production helps make such flaws more tolerable than the half-baked music of Mornington Crescent, and The Golden Mile consequently sounds like a qualified step forward for the band.

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