Sunday, 25 January 2009

White Lies - To Lose My Life...

Pound the drums like The Bravery did back on 2005's 'An Honest Mistake', sing a bit flat in a "dead robot" sort of way, and finally add a pastiche of a Depeche Mode synth line. Indie bands, please reconsider your options.

To Lose My Life... isn't so much extended gloom as it is White Lies moping as they stare at their own reflections. Despite the hype about White Lies being yet another heir to Joy Division's throne, on this evidence the west London three-piece don't even have the right to touch the tip of Ian Curtis's nose. Instead To Lose My Life...'s insistent, dense basslines stall at the point of futility.

"This fear's got a hold on me," sings Harry McVeigh in opener 'Death', but it just doesn't sound convincing or honest. "You got blood on your hands and I know it's mine/I just need more time" ('Unfinished Business') falls at the same hurdle, failing to portray any emotion and instead leading us to feel that White Lies' lyrical structures are merely marriages of convenience. All too often the result is vacuous, bloated and immature.

It seems that White Lies are chasing an expansive sound, but have instead ended up with a dreary, rather flat and over-polished record. 'Fifty On Our Foreheads', though, at least leaves us feeling nostalgic for '80s post-rock forerunners Talk Talk.

In case you didn't get that they're mortality-crazed, just take a look at the track listing ('Death', 'To Lose My Life') or the album artwork. It all seems awkwardly contrived - 'Farewell To The Fairground' could even be Eno-produced Coldplay in another guise.

To Lose My Life... isn't a White Lie, more a compilation of clich├ęs piled up in the shape of a crucifix.