White Lies – ‘Big TV’ (Fiction Records)
White Lies drop their 3rd album today & according to Louder Than War’s Alana Turk it’s their “most consistent record to date”. Read on to find out why.
Back in 2009, White Lies‘ debut album ‘To Lose My Life’ went straight to Number 1 in the UK albums chart. It was by no means perfect – how many debuts are? – but it did consist of massive rock songs that could have quite easily filled up any arena. With this initial success, the band’s ambition grew stronger alongside the release of their second album ‘Ritual’. While the scale of this follow up was obviously impressive, it sounded somewhat hollow in comparison to its predecessor. Unfortunately for the London trio, this meant that critics were not exactly forthcoming with their acclamation.
And now here we are, on the cusp of the release of the bands eagerly awaited third album, ‘Big TV’. Having returned to the same studios with the same producer (Ed Buller) as their critically acclaimed debut, could it possibly be that White Lies are attempting to recapture the spark which gave them their initial jump start into the music world?
The opening title track oozes slickness and melancholy. The hooks of ‘Big TV’ are genuinely superb and it certainly boasts the finest of many killer choruses heard during the album. Sweeping keys and a sprawling riff build up momentum throughout this slow-burning song, escalating in sinister melody and atmosphere. It is also the first track to deal with the theme of shallow desire for modern success, as the album follows the narrative of two young lovers moving to a big city in search of just that.
First official single ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ is much more direct and assertive. It proves to be a huge belter of a track that remembers to bring with it the type of infectious chorus that made the bands debut so popular in the first place.
After the first of two – rather expendable – interludes, ‘First Time Caller’ gets things back on track. It screams out “potential single” with a slightly cheesy, but catchy, chorus and its merging together of edgy Joy Division sensibilities and compelling Killers-style anthemics.
Free download ‘Getting Even’ is clearly indebted to the 1980’s – Tears For Fears in particular! Ascending to a suitably epic guitar-filled climax, it bursts into yet another colossal chorus, with Harry McVeigh’s emotionally charged vocals leaving you yearning for more.
The soaring ‘Be Your Man’, on the other hand, exhibits some more of that Killers-esque flare, and with its mountain of a chorus would slot comfortably into a live set. Nothing too ambitious, the song follows the bands classic, yet successful, formula.
It is, in fact, becoming increasingly obvious that White Lies seldom deviate from said formula which has helped them maintain such a dedicated fan-base. This, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The band are aware of what their beloved fans want and so they give it to them, as can be seen in such tracks as ‘Tricky To Love’ and ‘Heaven Wait’. ‘Goldmine’ pulls the album up to a satisfying conclusion, with a definitive ending to the albums young lovers storyline (which I won’t spoil for you…).
Whether or not ‘Big TV’ will win over the hearts of those who have already dismissed White Lies will remain to be seen, but it is an album that will no doubt be warmly received by their fans. It may not have the instant appeal of ‘To Lose My Life’, but the combination of the running storyline and an array of memorable hooks and choruses make it their most consistent record to date. With a main stage slot at Reading and Leeds Festival just around the corner and a huge European tour later this year, it seems that ‘Big TV’ will ensure that White Lies will be around for some time yet.
All words by Alana Turk. More of Alana’s writing for Louder Than War can be found here.