White Lies - To Lose My Life

TC 22/01/2009

Rating: 3.5/5

There's a real danger that, when you discover something of true merit in lean times, you can place too high a value what you have found - that is my only issue with White Lies. For me, this is indeed the best album of 2009 so far, so we should focus on that for sure, but let's take stock again at the end of the Summer shall we?

The Ealing three-piece have been picked up by Fiction and, let's face it, their previous pupils have certainly shown an impressive pedigree. This, their debut album is very good, so don't let my miserable intro deter you unduly.

The sound leans heavily on the eighties and exudes a gothic merriment feel, if there can be such a thing. Early comparisons have been the obvious ones, with Joy Division and Interpol to the fore. But White Lies are worth more than that - yes, there's the doom-laden backbeat and lyrical content, but they rise above the gloom with a bounce and drive more akin to a punkier gathering. There's a much closer historical allegiance with b>Echo & The Bunnymen and, moreso, with the much underrated Teardrop Explodes. I have to say, I have found the whole eighties rock rejuvenation thing a tad tedious, mainly because it wasn't that good the first time around! The Editors are the only band to have really risen above it all and show long term potential, but I think there's enough here to suggest that White Lies could also go the distance.

Anyway, enough of comparisons, what of “To Lose My Life”? It opens with second single “Death”, a fine tune that neatly illustrates what the band are all about - a driving bass line, swirling organ chimes, stuttering guitar and a vocal style that has a strangely purposeful drone about it. The title track and latest single is next up and possibly the best track of the set, again driven along steadily by the bass into an exploding chorus of wanting to “grow old together and die at the same time” - there is a light. Beyond that there are illustrations of greater depth in what the band can do, with tracks like “Nothing To Give” allowing McVeigh to croon of his pain in almost a balladry fashion. Lyrically they're clever enough but not very convincing it has to be said and whilst the album does fall short in a few areas, there aren't enough of them to be over critical.

The industry is already geared up to hail White Lies as the new messiahs and that worries me (look what happened to Razorlight!). They've already backed Glasvegas and they're pitched to be the best band on the NME 2009 Shockwaves tour. Next month they support the ultimate gothindie masters The Cure at the O2 Arena and beyond that they will no doubt be in demand by all the Summer festivals.

At the end of it all we will indeed take stock. My view is that they will make the cut; my view is also that several other bands will cut deeper. For now, we've found a discarded copy of yesterday's newspaper and it makes for compelling reading, until we find a newsagents! In true goth style I started and finished with misery, but found a fond allegiance to cling onto inbetween - grab the opportunity lads, it is yours for the taking!