It was as if they admired the cold sound of Depeche Mode and one-word titles of Joy Division, but couldn't help indulging in the overblown melodrama of Spandau Ballet and Ultravox instead. The Coldplay-worshipping chorus of current single Miracle suggests they're aching for arena status even though it's The Garage that's their Glasgow stop-off next month.
Everything about Exile pushes what we heard on debut album Happiness a little bit further: guitars (Cupid), strings (Somebody To Die For), choirs (Help), cheese (Blind). It's impossible not to smirk when their goth-pop pomposity takes over completely, but there are moments of promise: the hip-hop backing beats of Sandman; the bubbling synth menace and minor key dips of the title track.
Theo Hutchcraft's lyrics remain intriguingly downbeat, however, so fingers crossed that an emotionally frigid masterpiece finally comes along on album number three. For the time being, though, Exile is too confused by its own imbalance of dark and light.