This week, I give you the criminally under-rated unsung heroes of Britpop My Life Story.
Quite why Jake Shillingford’s band never quite broke through to the mainstream has always been a mystery to me.
London-based My Life Story were around for most of the 1990s, during which time they released three albums and found themselves lurking somewhere around the periphery of the Britpop movement.
However, whereas most Britpop bands were stripping their sound down to a guitar-based minimum, the 12-strong initial incarnation of My Life Story bucked the trend, opting for a bombastic, overblown, baroque-pop sound based around orchestral brass and string instruments.
Singer/songwriter Shillingford had a gift for portraying everyday British life in the form of quirky, sometimes cheesy and camp but always clever and memorable lyrics. In this sense, and for some of their musical flourishes, they remind me a lot of Pulp.
Alas, while Pulp finally got the recognition they deserved after years of toil, it never quite happened for My Life Story and the band split back in 2000.
However, they have retained a fairly small but devoted fanbase and in May 2006 they reunited for a one-off gig in London’s Mean Fiddler. Having missed the chance to see them in the 90s, I made a special trip south from Glasgow just for the concert and it was a triumph – one of the best I have ever been to. There have been another couple of reunion gigs since then, with another planned for this coming November.
This, then, is 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, which is my favourite My Life Story song (and along with The Who’s Pinball Wizard and REM’s Man On The Moon, one of my all-time top-three songs), with a video that is an anarchic triumph of no-budget production.