White Lies – Big TV Review

Back in 2011 and with their second album Ritual, everyone was raving about White Lies and ‘Bigger Than Us’ was being played everywhere but despite all that, I could never really get into and just sort of classed them into the pile of one of those Indie fad groups thinking they could make Dark side of the moon or Sgt Pepper. But of course on closer inspection they aren’t really like that. It also seems that 2013 is the year I ‘get’ all these hyped up groups. White Lies are no exception. It’s pretty hard to shake off the core White Lies sound when you consider Harry McVeigh’s higher scaled, deep sounding vocal which is what makes the majority of their sound. However while keeping that core element they have with Big TV; made an album packed with melody and rhythm and sort of retains the dark and real theme from the vocals but hinged on melodies and hooks more joyous and optimistic.

‘There goes our Love Again’ has got one of those instantly brilliant deep, tumbling bass lines to drive the song. The synths and guitars just grow from it. Harry’s vocal also matches the bass on the verses but then match the synths and guitars on the chorus for a nice peak and trough of sound scales that gear towards the chorus and it’s sing a long quality. It’s a glorious pop anthem, it’s damn catchy and melodic but still has a sense of stark reality about it that’s channelled through Harry’s vocal. This is the sort of thing that should be topping the charts and in at any other time it would. Sadly today clever production, composition and song writing isn’t the ‘in’ thing. Music isn’t the ‘in’ thing. ‘Getting Even’ retains the bass driven theme with retro synth chords and riffs spilling off it.  Harry’s vocals pulls balance to it all in the verses and again there is a certain hook to his voice in the chorus with more raging riffs adding to the build up of sound. The stripped back lead up into the final burst of the chorus typically builds up with the guitars and synths in a way that never fails. It doesn’t drive on quite like ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ but it retains it’s positive aspects.

However the album does have some weaker points. ‘First time caller’ is more considered and toned down in it’s feel and approach with a distorted riff forming the backbone of the chorus and the bass the verses. The lead guitar part adds some melody too. But it’s not of the elk of the other two songs. I also think Harry is limited a little bit in terms of his vocals in this arrangement. He benefits from a packed sound whether it be upbeat or otherwise. But having said that, it works a little better on the title track with the soft build up of instrumentals around him with the synths then the guitars, bass and percussion. There is an 80’s dance sample that churns away in a stop start way in the background is lifted by the vocals and guitars. At times there is plenty of scale and depth to the song too as it filets in out of heavily instrumental sections to more sparse sections. The rhythm’s certainly there as is the sing a long quality on the chorus but it doesn’t quite have the punch of the single but it’s not far off. They certainly haven’t left the rest of the album to rot and focused on the singles. They also have a varied tone to the album too, even if it isn’t as instantly grabbing as the singles. But why should they be? All in all it’s a solid album and I think their best yet.

White Lies – Big TV = 8.5/10

File:White Lies Big TV cover.jpg

Images from http://en.wikipedia.org / www.nme.com

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