24 January 2009

White Lies: "To Lose My Life"

No white lie here, this could be one of, perhaps the best album of 2009…

White Lies is another one of those bands obsessed with 80s revival, post-punk influenced indie rock. Out of London, this trio (consisting of Charles Cave on bass and backing vocals, Jack Lawrence-Brown on drums, and lead vocalist Harry McVeigh on guitar) are already garnishing the attention of the hype-machine. “To Lose My Life” was released on the 19th of January in the UK, and from NME naming them as one of the bands to look out for in 2009 to all the scathing reviews of their debut album, the band has hit the British music scene in a hard way. To boot, they will be playing at the Shockwave NME Awards Big Gig (26 February 2009) at the O2 Arena honoring the Cure.

Consistently compared to some veterans (Joy Division, Depeche Mode, etc…) and contemporaries (Interpol, Killers, Editors, etc…), what many British critics have failed to acknowledge is that this band is not about moping about, but rather introspection. It is not about wanting to be arena/stadium music, but rather the power of simplicity. Though young, they lack the immaturity and whining of current emo bands. They do not pine away at the impossible, but rather candidly confronting feelings of heartbreak, not frivolous romantic notions. The opening track, “Death,” is lyrically more reminiscent of Bjork’s “Hyper Ballad” than any goth number I can call to mind – “Floating neither up or down, I wonder when I’ll hit the ground, will the earth beneath my body shake and cast your sleeping heart away.” However, don’t mistake that they can out gloom the gloomiest – “He said to lose my life or lose my love, that’s the nightmare I’ve been running from… Let’s grow old together and dies at the same time” (“To Lose My Life”).

Though not lyrically cohesive in a single theme, the album flutters like sunrays through a window at dawn from one mood and emotion to another, sometimes changing in midstream. For example, “From the Stars” starts as a narrative of seeing a friend at a funeral and quickly morphs into twisted tale of internal indifference towards the world outside and the implied turmoil within. However, though the thematic content may vary, what is always consistent is the simplicity and maximum impact of the arrangements. Hooks and syrupy sweet layers of perfectly produced music, this is the most addictive album I have heard in years. Give it a try; I do not think you will be regretting it.

To Lose My Life (19 January 2009)

Track Listing:
1. Death
2. To Lose My Life
3. A Place to Hide
4. Fifty on Our Foreheads
5. Unfinished Business
6. E.S.T.
7. From the Stars
8. Farewell to That Fairground
9. Nothing to Give
10. The Price of Love