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Life In Exile
Life In Exile
Deadwood Records
www.lifeinexile.net


Life In Exile walks a fine line between emulating the early eighties synth bands and falling into the darker depths of industrial. For me it is the dark side that appeals more as I almost equate this band to an evolved Joy Division, who walked that line beautifully. This band has made definite use of the technology jump since then, using more refined sound choices that emphasize the songs excellently.

The production is the true key to this album, and really in many ways it overshadows the songwriting. Using delicate backing sounds and rhythms the production nails the scope of the record, varying from hard-ish to more New Order-ish - who I equate to just plain wussy. "Ayn Rand" is just a bland song with a halfway striking chorus, but the addition of the multiple layers of sound and subtleties of production it actually works.

The material is the biggest detractor, appearing flaccid and unimaginative. Guitar parts are weak, limiting their impact to mere single chord strikes in heavy distortion with little to no movement. If you rely on the synthetic to drive the song then you have to give yourself over to it, some bands can manage that, this one can't.

My advice would be to choose a direction and go full bore that way. My favorite moment on the album was during "What I Am" as some truly interesting Al Jourgenson-esque vocals appeared and took control of the song. Or, you could go the other direction and pander to the lighter side, your choice. One thing for certain is that it doesn't work as it lies right now.

It is a credit to the producers that they got this album palatable, but ultimately it takes the material to get it past that, so it doesn't become, forgettable.

-bishop

Track listing:
1) Lonely Heaven
2) What I Am
3) Hunger
4) Ayn Rand
5) Lift Off
6) It's Alright
7) Mirror in the Bathroom


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Mike Doughty



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