White Lies


Written by: HES on 21/10/2016 11:08:04

I knew White Lies mostly as a gothic, dark brit-rock band but as I sat down to listen to the newest release of the English trio “Friends” it overwhelmingly came off as a synth-laden ode to the eighties. Especially the opening track “Take It Out On Me” sports uplifting chords and dream pop layering. Vocalist Harry McVeigh however still colors the album depressed with his very distinctive and old-voice-in-a-young-body vocals. This is White Lies fourth studio album and it seems apparent that the band has decided to play a little with their sound.

I don’t mind the 80’s revival of late and I would even go as far as to say I’m getting a little bit into disco-rock when I listen to releases like Bleachers “Strange Desires”, but as it is with any musical century there are some “trends” we think back on more fondly than others. One thing I don’t think back on with much enthusiasm is this funk-inspired repetitive nature in the composition of songs. It seems White Lies think differently, exemplified on tracks like “Hold Back Your Love” or “I Don’t Wanna Feel It All” that seem to loop and loop and loop atop a mildly interesting backdrop of overenthusiastic disco-synths. Overall this soundscape makes for a “depressed summer”-vibe that is also addressed lyrically on “Summer Didn’t Change A Thing”.

The repetitive nature of many of the tracks means that you lose some orientation in the album. Combined with the trio’s ability to write a pretty decent chorus it means that “Friends” is an album you can easily put on repeat and then 3 hours later realize that you just listened to the album 4 times over. There’s something very welcoming about that – but there’s also something very un-challenging about it. The juxta-position of using something as uplifting as a 70’s disco synth and depressed lyrics is one I’ll always appreciate, but the looping makes it stand out less successfully. The repetition also makes many of the songs stand out as unfulfilled, without ever reaching a crescendo – seeming almost never-ending.

“Friends” is neither a bad album nor a disagreeable sounding album. It’s just very much the same album we’ve seen from White Lies before. The inspiration is a little more uplifting rather than gothic only. But most of all the choices that set the album apart from the previous releases are mainly working against it. You can sing along after the first couple of listens and it has moments with tracks like “Take It Out On Me” or “Come On” that seem to work their way out of the album’s rhythmical rut. But overall the album never really gets to set off as you’d want it to and it just ends up circling around itself endlessly.

Download: Take It Out On Me, Come On, Morning in LA
For The Fans Of: Bleachers, Editors, Depeche Mode
Listen: https://www.facebook.com/WhiteLies

Release date 07.10.2016

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