White Lies

Ritual

Geffen

Jan 21, 2011 Bookmark and Share


At the outset, things may seem easy for a band that sounds an awful lot like other bands—they're easy to define, people find them without much trouble (You like Interpol? You should try White Lies!), and there's a track laid out for them. The problem is, a band like White Lies constantly stands next to one of those "You Must Be This Tall to Ride" measuring sticks. White Lies is not as complicated musically or lyrically as Interpol, not as gloomy as Editors, and nowhere near as dangerous and sexy as Joy Division.

A song such as "Strangers," from their second album, Ritual, feels very much paint by numbers: chugging guitars, spooky keyboards, dark and massive vocals. Vocalist Harry McVeigh sometimes sounds surprisingly flat and the soaring notes don't quite get off the ground. His lyrics also fall flat, "Hold tight for heartbreak/Buckle up for loneliness." On occasion, he can put together some images that start to conjure a feeling ("Dead dreams and dirty clothes"), but then he falls back on clichés ("Can anybody hear me?/Is anybody out there?"). More than that, though, McVeigh seems to either clog lines with too many syllables or not enough, sometimes in back-to-back lines, giving the songs a herky jerky stop-start.

The rest of the band doesn't fare much better. Rather than the angular attack of Joy Division or the swooning changes of Interpol, White Lies bring a little sunshine through the clouds, with a softer keyboard edge and the aforementioned chugging guitars. This inspiration through darkness method could work, but the band doesn't reach the peak to which they're aspiring. Unfortunately, they're not quite tall enough yet to ride the same coaster as Editors, much less Interpol, much, much less Joy Division. (www.whitelies.com

Author rating: 3/10

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Dickie
February 1st 2011
10:22pm

When I was given their debut album I was told that I should like them because I like Joy Division and Interpol. I was told that the music was dark and that the excellent lyrics were delivered with a real passion from a unique voice. Then I listened to the album.
I cannot possibly get across how much I hate that album and the band which produced it. A friend tried to win me over to them by playing me excerpts from this new album. His bruises will heal in time but he will have to learn to adapt to life with one foot.
I like almost all music at some level - a band or even an entire genre may not click with me but I can at the very least appreciate the work that went into producing it. White Lies are about the only band/act to which that feeling does not apply - on any level. They are to music what terminal brain cancer is to me - the promise of extreme and unbearable pain followed only by death.
They rely for lyrics upon the diaries of 14 year old girls whose fascinations swing from death to the crush they have on their English teacher. For music they simply copy Duran Duran and filter it through a mixing desk with auto beats and “Scary Effects” switched to the on position.
Ronan Keating has done less evil under the guise of making music than White Lies. Thats right, I said it! Ronan Keating is less horrifically bad than White Lies. Ronan Keating could do a lounge music remake of the entire Faith No More back catalogue and he would still have done less damage to music and to the world than White Lies have managed in two unbelievably bad albums.

kyle
February 22nd 2011
9:32pm

Good review of this album over at http://www.syffal.com