No one was really surprised when My Life Story were dropped by their record label. Like The Divine Comedy without charisma or irony, they went for bombast and flamboyance over poise and memorable tunes. The leader of that group Jake Shillingford has been forced to go back to basics and offload the excess baggage. As is so often the case, the stripped down arrangements force Shillingford to concentrate on the songs and he is revealed to be a fine songwriter. His vocal is now pitched somewhere in the range of Depeche Mode's Martin Gore's fragile and heartfelt timbre, just listen to the way 'I Can't Feel Anymore' apes his delivery. Pop numbers like 'Katrin' and the title track are tuneful and cleverly constructed whereas experience is revealed in 'Taylorville'; resigned and reflective. There are a few false dawns along the way; 'She Came To Stay's thumping electronica tries and fails to cover up the fact that this it has a weak chorus. However, form has definitely been recovered by the time 'Antiques' arrives thanks to a distinctive, bewitching piano and a poignant lyric: "There's no safety net, for falling of grace". With this album Shillingford might well have found that elusive safety net.