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White Lies - To Lose My Life...

2009-04-15 17:53
White Lies

No really, I do. You may have heard of them recently. They were, after all, voted in at number two on the BBC’s Sound of 2009 list and have been getting major media hype in Britain and around the world. And they’ve only played together for two years. And this is their debut album.

To Lose My Life... is the first full-length offering from lead vocalist Harry McVeigh, bassist Charles Cave and drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown as White Lies. Let’s start with the facts, shall we? The album entered the UK charts at #1 but only lasted in the top 40 for four consecutive weeks. They’ve released three singles from this album with “To Lose My Life” and “Farewell to the Fairground” both entering the UK Top 40.

The album strays from the idealized “storyline method” in which a record flows from beginning to end as a single entity. It’s as though even the indie kids have realised the demise of the album. Instead, To Lose My Life... is packed with ten mini-stories. The pick of the stories, a beautifully twisted ransom plot, appears in the last track “The Price of Love”.

Another track to look out for is the album-opener “Death” in which the individual parts coalesce into a beautiful, single, unrelenting movement; like simple pieces of metal built into a luxury train that hurtles through snow-capped mountains. The skinniest pair of jeans on the rack, however, is “From the Stars” which combines a great storyline, a beautiful melody and a powerful-in-its-simplicity instrumental base.

There is a more youthful, dreamy element of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis in McVeigh’s singing, a lot of Longview in the instrumentation and quite a striking similarity to the overall sound of the Editors. The result is a clean, crisp and modern form of shoegazing indie that’ll have the cool kids vibing out in no time. If this all confuses you, think of a melancholy tune. Add equal parts of a fuller-sounding yet subdued guitar, mini-stories with beautiful, well-worked lyrics and a very cool 20-piece string section. That is White Lies.

Before I get carried away in praise, I ought to mention that some of the lyrics are a little weak. Particularly “To Lose My Life” (although its rousing chorus saves it), the lyrics of which sound like a 16 year old penning a lovesick suicide note. Some of the melodies are a little washed out too and need a creative spark.

Overall though, this is a very good debut album. It’s one that will impress on first listen, remain easy on the ear at the tenth and mature into a comfortable blanket, one in which you can curl up during winter and have your worries warmed away. It’s not a classic, but with a good sophomore release, these youngsters could be set to become one of the great indie acts of the 21st Century.

And you still want to ask why I feel sorry for them? I think Bowie and Queen summed it up quite succinctly: “Under Pressure”.
I feel sorry for White Lies.

What to read next: Kalahari
Read more on:    david bowie

Nishav 2009/04/18 1:24 PM
To lose my life is an awesome tune. The first time I heard it, I thought it was the Presets. :s
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