Jan Ní Fhlanagáin
posted on February 24, 2009 18:00
A review of the album To Lose My Life by White Lies
Review Snapshot: With echoes of Interpol, Echo and The Bunnymen, Editors and more White Lies emerge from the ashes of ‘Fear of Flying’ with a confident yet underwhelming debut. If they can just shake off the shadow of their influences their music will be all the better for it.
The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10
So the country’s goosed, the Celtic Tiger’s ambling listlessly around a home for the bewildered and we’re all frantically padding out our mattresses with what few doubloons we’ve salvaged from the wreckage. If you turn to music at times like these either to wallow or to forget, then avoid this debut album from White Lies. You’ll find neither solace nor distraction just ten songs that all sound vaguely alike, derivative and dull.
‘To Lose My Life’ gets underway with what has the bare bones of a decent single. The thumping drum and bass lines of ‘Death’ prove catchy but all too reminiscent of most any Killers track released in the last five years. Still though it’s a solid opener which could probably have held its own were it crafted to the mould of a three minute pop/rock song but the relatively straightforward hook and glaring lack of climax leave it languishing.
In fact the vast majority of tracks here suffer the same fate with all but one clocking in at less than four minutes and all seeming to meander around a central melodic motif too simple to sustain the weight of a song. In spite of all of this there are moments of promise that hint at a future which may well eclipse many of White Lies contemporaries. Some beautifully blended synth parts (E.S.T.) coupled with an assured rhythm section driving things from beneath the glum and gloomy vocals of Harry McVeigh point to festival fields full of kids (who dabble in Goth-lite) singing along at the top of their lungs.
At the moment though this West London trio are suffocating beneath the weight of their idols and faltering between awkward lyrics and predictable melodies. Songs which deal with dark subject matter such as suicide, self-harm and depression are unwittingly undermined by clunky writing, ‘a desperate fear flows through my blood, that our dead love’s buried beneath the mud’. The clear exception here is penultimate track ‘Nothing to Hide’ which strikes a chord largely because the Interpol and Editors influence is at it’s least obvious, allowing the heart of the song to breathe.
In the checks and balances of it all best to leave this one on the shelf for now but there are just enough glimmers of interest here to save White Lies from being written off just yet.
Jan Ní Fhlanagáin