Review | Somewhere between New Wave and Post-Punk, British alternative rockers WHITE LIES have defrosted the 80s again, bringing us their new album Five. A decade after To Lose My Life, the band has now chosen a title which is rationally pragmatic, while minimising expectations. Foreseeable and yet satisfying, the music itself dives deep into the melancholic and introspective layers the band has created around itself.
Like an old friend, opening track Time to Give invites the listener to stay. In times where attention is fleeting and distractions are everywhere, McVeigh’s voice almost seems to ask, “what’s the rush?”. The ones who have the grace to stay are taken on a seven-minute trip through tension and relaxation before being pushed into the spiral made of Muse-like synth-sounds which are closing the track.
Melancholic, deep and nostalgic
Overall, the album moves dynamically from track to track. Whereas Never Alone accelerates the speed of the record, giving us the soundtrack to late-night joyrides, Finish Line is built up more slowly, being divided into different steps which the listener can follow. Despite maintaining their overall sound, the band does not flinch from experimenting with acoustic guitars. As demonstrated in Kick Me, the instrument adds a sound that frustrated teenagers would listen to on their bikes after a bad Highschool day.
No matter if suburbia or metropolis, loneliness is global. At least that is lying at the core of Tokyo. Whoever you call, in every city you’ll find someone feeling hopeless or depressed. It is a universal language and a common thread for people at the same time. With its catchy chorus and a sound that’s kept simple, the song has more to it than meets the eye. Another highlight of the record is Jo?, in which the band has managed to fuse 80s synth-pop with stadium rock dalliance.
The last three tracks softly edge the album towards the exit, giving us the steadfast Denial, daydream-single Believe It and Fire and Wings. The closing track adds new colour to the White Lies-spectrum, giving us an atmospheric sound that easily could pass off as a B-Side of one of Kings of Leon’s first albums. But almost halfway through the song, distorted guitars are blowing away this comparison with hard riffs, taking the song into a completely different direction.
Five as a positive stagnation
To sum it up here: There’s nothing special about Five. But maybe that’s the whole point. Given that today, almost everything must be new and shiny, it’s comforting to know that some things stay the same. White Lies keep the New Wave going, providing us with just the exact amount of novelty we need.
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Artwork taken from Sonic Seducer.