White Lies, To Lose My Life. . .

Published on January 30th, 2010 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Jim R. Clark

I saw this band for the first time on the Ohio PBS music variety television program called Strictly Global and I was hooked by the dark and foggy video for a song called “To Lose My Life.” These three young guys from Ealing, West London have a wonderful new and old sound.

Their newest album, To Lose My Life. . . was released on January 19, 2009 on Fiction Records (a subsidiary of Polydor and thus, Universal). Their lyrics and voices are full, echoey, vibrant, and utterly depressing, which is great, but the band also possesses a unified, driving, and consuming analog guitar sound, bass-heavy percussion, and fuzzy bass backing. Most songs utilize a keyboard playing long synth notes and add “the old rusty piano in the attic sound” into that. They might start off mildly, but build up to galloping, raging, end crescendos.

white lies to lose my life

Listening to this band makes you want to turn it up louder and louder in order to feel the full effect. The band is similar sounding to Joy Division, Interpol, and possibly early ’80s Cure, but harder edged and different enough to seem new. Compared to Joy Division, there is less malaise, more vocal harmonizing, faster beats, more modern sounds, and less repetition of lyrics, although they share the same dark ideations.

This band kind of spans categories. Although they have been described as such, they are definitely not emo; couldn’t be further from. They are not indie, goth, metal, rock, new-wave, or grunge. But there are some slight elements of all of these styles mixed in there. Lyrically, the band is outrageously over-the-top dramatic and tends to focus heavily on the ideas of death, disease, hospitals, isolation, rejection, regret, being murdered by your girlfriend, aliens, and passionate true love. You get the feeling that the singer, Harry McVeigh, must have been repeatedly and painfully treated for some horrible disease.

Ideas such as being trapped in a horrible one-horse-town, abandoned factories, disused sanatoriums, empty cities, and The Afterlife come to mind while listening. For some reason, fans of both Twilight and The Vampire Diaries seem to love this band. I’m not sure what the tie-in is, but they like to have comment flame wars with each other on the band’s YouTube video posts over who is better, Edward or Jacob.

White Lies are the best non-new-wave thing I’ve heard in a long time. I give To Lose My Life. . . four out of four stars. Beware searching for White Lies videos on YouTube; there are some absolutely awful remixes and covers circulating out there. Here’s a list of links to the official videos, but all the other songs are out there on unofficial fan posts.

“To Lose My Life. . .”
“Farewell to the Fairground”

White Lies is currently touring Europe; their next two dates are in Moscow (February 4) nd St. Petersburg (February 6). Check out tracks from To Lose My Life. . . on their MySpace page or Official Website.

2 Responses to “White Lies, To Lose My Life. . .

  1. Popshifter » Bigger Than Us: Q&A With White Lies:
    January 30th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    […] you haven’t listened to White Lies’ debut album, To Lose My Life yet, well then, what are you waiting for? Now is the time. Their new album, Ritual, was released on […]

  2. Popshifter » The Power & The Glory: White Lies Live:
    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:02 am

    […] confess to being late to White Lies fandom. Popshifter writer Jim R. Clark raved about their debut, To Lose My Life . . ., but it took the new album Ritual to get me on their […]

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