posted on February 25, 2011 18:00
A review of the album 'Ritual' by White Lies
Review Snapshot: Has the second album curse taken its next victim? White Lies' new release promises big with some of the biggest names in indie lending a hand along the way. But can the champions of nu-shoe gaze really deliver on the follow up to ‘To Lose My Life’?.
The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10
Full Review: White Lies' new release ‘Rituals’ appear to be just that, a ritual. It's as if they took their previous effort ‘To Lose My Life’ - songs about love, songs about death - changed the wording around a bit, a dash more synths and, voila, album number two is born.
Songs about love and death mean nothing if no feelings are involved. It could be said that their style of expressionless vocals explains the lack of emotion in these songs and those in previous recordings. That is until you compare them with lead vocalists of bands in a similar vein, such as Joy Division, Interpol and Editors. In these cases the dead pan style manges to enhance the raw emotion of the lyrics. This is just not the case here with White Lies.
When any real insight seems to be gained from the nonsensical lyrics its message is vague. All in all, quite frustrating for the listener. The sense of frustration continues with its little bit of head banging here, some fist pumps there. What missing on 'Rituals' are the stand out tracks that littered ‘To Lose My Life’. Here by comparision it is difficult to decipher the songs from one another.
The record, with 10 tracks averaging at 5 minutes apiece, runs a little long for its content. Don’t be misled though, this album is crammed with catchy hooks and melodies. The album's euphoric debut single ‘Bigger Than Us’ is filled with whirling guitar and a pounding drum backing the refrain “I want you to hold me, and I want you to pray”. For a gloomy rock trio they can really put out the radio friendly tracks.
This only leads to the conclusion that this is a band that knows exactly what they’re doing, there’s not a hair out of place. Every word, no matter now nonsensical, is put there intently and purposefully. It's a pity they take themselves far too seriously to allow a simple thing like poetic insight or sentiments hold them back.
In recent interviews the band has firmly set their sights on global domination. Stints supporting Kings of Leon on their American tour the band appear to have gotten a taste for the high life, literally. Say what you will about Kings of Leon, but they have the back catalogue to back up any success that has come their way. White Lies on the other hand seem to believe that this kind of fame is owed to them. In the cut throat music industry it should be a well established fact that bands don’t necessarily get their dues, and does two frankly mediocre albums really equal global success to rival Kings?
They appear to have the ambition and determination required for a band to succeed. What they lack is heart.