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London trio replicates
gloomy '80s post-punk

White Lies - To Lose My Life
(Polydor Records)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Feb. 3, 2009
White Lies

Review by Tony Bonyata

After years of retracing the gloomy, detached sounds of bands from the late '70s and early '80s such as Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen and The Cure, the question that remains is, do we really need another band rehashing this well-trodden musical terrain?

Probably not, but when that band is White Lies we might just be able let one more slip under the fence. That's because, like their modern contemporaries before them such as Interpol, Editors, Bloc Party and a host of others, this West London trio manages to deliver the goods - even if it seems as though we've heard it all before. On their first full-length, To Lose My Life (which miraculously debuted at #1 on the UK charts two weeks ago) band members Harry McVeigh (vocals / guitar), Charles Cave (bass) and Jack Brown (drums) carefully replicate the dirgy sound of post-Joy Division offshoot New Order on the synth-heavy "A Place To Hide," yet sound closer to newer acts such The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs or The Futureheads on the title track with its angular beat that percolates throughout.

Along with some of the aforementioned comparisons, White Lies also get mistakenly saddled next to Coldplay and Arcade Fire. Thankfully they're not quite as grandiose and pretentious as the former (although they come within inches on the arena rock theatrics of "From The Stars" and the maudlin balladry of "Nothing To Hide"), and they're definitely not as inventive or invigorating as the latter - happy instead to mimic and manipulate the past rather than build on the future. With that said, however, White Lies successfully tap into the gloom and doom of '70s post-punk and '80s synth pop, thus giving shoegazers and closet Goths a good reason to break out the black wardrobe and wax nostalgically.

Watch White Lies - "To Lose My Life"

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