White Lies – [Album]

Friday, 20 March 2009

An obsession with death is often a haunting and disturbing thing, but where White Lies are concerned, it’s a source of musical inspiration. From the very first strains of “Death,” you know you’re in for something big—the building synth beat escalating into an infectious guitar-studded refrain: “Yeah, this fear’s got a hold on me.” While the undeniable strength of “Death” can’t quite be touched by any of the disc’s other tracks, the English three-piece churn out To Lose My Life as a solid and polished first effort.

Building tracks around funerals and fear, White Lies’ sound has an ethereal darkness, captured by lead singer Harry McVeigh’s low and resonant vocals, and supported by many of the songs’ lyrics. With a vocal sound resting somewhere between Depeche Mode and Glasvegas, McVeigh carefully sculpts each track and embellishes it with romantic language. “From the Stars” references time ticking away while “The Price of Love” tells a story like the plot of a noir thriller backed by an incessant bass line.

Each of the album’s ten tracks builds slowly and deliberately, and mid-way through you find yourself wishing they wouldn’t end. The title track capitalizes on shouted phrases and blaring guitars reminiscent of Bloc Party, while the next two tracks, “A Place to Hide” and “Fifty on our Foreheads,” channel Glasvegas with soaring vocals and elegant lyrics about frozen hearts. “Unfinished Business” comes closest to capturing the fire of “Death,” with a danceable beat underscored with a church organ-sounding synth.

At their best, White Lies pair gentle lyrics with undeniable symphonic sensibilities, making death nothing but a fleeting thought. “To Lose My Life” has a polished grittiness akin to the Killer’s Hot Fuss or Interpol’s Antics, utilizing the strong themes of life and death, and packing their songs with catchy refrains (such as the repetition of “there’s no place like home” on “Farewell to the Fairground”). While each track feels very different, they live together successfully thanks to the disc’s pervasive dark aesthetic. To Lose My Life isn’t quite earth-shattering, but with a number one debut in the UK, and tour stops planned at SXSW and Coachella, White Lies don’t have to worry about dying out any time soon.


White Lies – To Lose My Life[Buy it now on]

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