Let’s just cut to the chase: White Lies is uncannily similar to Joy Division. Their sound, their style, everything they do is ripped straight from the morose band playbook. (Even lead singer Harry McVeigh resembles Ian Curtis.)
The band’s latest release, “Ritual,” does very little to break from the dark ‘80s sound they are known for. Yet in the vein of Joy Division, White Lies explore their New Order side on this record.
Their lead single, “Bigger Than Us,” locks into a New Order groove while maintaining a real rock ‘n’ roll sound. Through most of the tracks, the band comfortably transitions from dancey verses to grand choruses without coming off as trying too hard not to conform to pop styles. A Tears For Fears influence is also very apparent and the record is filled with other pieces of ‘80s music nostalgia.
Known for their dark and haunting music, White Lies do explore more melodic aspects on this record. “Come Down” sounds like a hybrid of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” drum track with Nine Inch Nails’ industrial synths.
“Peace & Quiet” is an interesting track because it has all the makings for a crossover appeal. McVeigh’s bassy vocals swell and croon over the swelling synth tracks. Fans of Kid Cudi or T.I.’s “Dead And Gone” may come to enjoy this somber joint.
If you were to grab only one track from the album, however, “Streetlights” would best sum up the album. A would-be-‘80s anthem, “Streetlights” captures that cold Manchester sound but brings it to a new plateau once its melodic chorus comes in. It’s a must-have track for any brooding slow dance.
What White Lies is producing is nothing new. The xx, Interpol and numerous other bands have all delved into this genre of depressing, dark dance music. White Lies, though, is exploring the realm at which these songs can operate. Their sound is getting darker but also bigger. Just like early efforts from Coldplay and Muse, “Ritual” is setting White Lies up for big things.
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