White Lies – To Lose Your Life
White Lies, I want to like you. I really do.
Your album, To Lose Your Life, is rife with great production value, a sort-of-gloom-and-doom quality in its references to chapel steps and plethora of minor chord progressions, and a cornucopia of vocal reverb.
But alas, White Lies, the main issue is that I’ve heard all this before. Namely, when I discovered Bauhaus and Joy Division in high school, and more recently with another post-goth rock revival album courtesy of The National.
So while my ear definitely perks up to tracks like “Fifty On Our Foreheads,” the real problem you’re contending with is that I just keep thinking of Peter Murphy and Ian Curtis. Perhaps your album rests better upon ears more virginal than mine, without a pesky frame of reference that results in the inability to not hear some other band from the ’80s. But this isn’t to say that you aren’t talented, because you are.
“Death” has a certain understated anthem quality to it, Harry McVeigh’s vocals carry through every track with gentle strength, and Charles Cave’s bass rolls in at the right times. In short, the true musical talent and performance quality is there.
Unfortunately, the originality is not. White Lies, we can still be friends though, right?
Editor’s note: While at SXSW in March, I and my two hotel roommates were up at 3am watching the series of music-related infomercials of bands performing that week. Up came White Lies. After seeing their name splashed up on a wall in lights that night, seeing the CD cover on my hotel card, and getting their CD slipped under the hotel room door, I was a bit sick of the marketing push. What’s next, White Lies toilette urine cakes?
After watching a few of their videos, we each threw out what band they were emulating. I came up with Editors while Marc and Laurie threw out Joy Division and one other I can’t remember…Arcade Fire? (hey, it was 3am) Not two seconds later, those band names came up during their commercial as their influences. We all burst out laughing. I guess we were spot on there. I would agree with Anne that White Lies have a cool sound. I also wanted to like them, since my first love has always been Brit music. While imitation is always rampant in the music circle, these guys are more “me too” than most. Maybe they should have called their album, “To Lose Your Identity.” -ko