Sound: Some say that White Lies sound a little bit too much like Joe Division. I personally think there is not a whole lot one should complain about that statement. Unless of course, that was the only sound that accompanied the bands music. Which is, of course, not the case. The Killers, Interpol, Editors, New Order, The Blood Arm, The Beatles, Coldplay, The Cribs, The Cure, David Bowie, The Doors, Glasvegas, Jeff Buckley, Kate Bush, Travis - there are loads of bands that come to mind. Not just one. Whether they are rough influences or just fleeting tonal comparisons, I don't see any problem contrasting the sound of this excellent band, to another excellent band. Now, this particular act, and this album, is certainly not without some form of hiccup or issue. This is a band that are going somewhere very fast, and you can here it. They want stadiums (and if they don't, I feel they have given me the wrong impression) They want people to sing along to their chorus's. To mime the synth lines and hum to the chord changes.
It's not quite pretentiousness, I wouldn't call it that, but there are points where you feel a confidence echoing from them that is a little too noticeable. Like as if they know too well what they want to sound like, for each individual song, and have no problem reaching that goal. It does take away a little of the intensity to the album and removes a certain character that some people are obsessive over. Mistakes and insecurity are a part of growing up as a band - and it's a delight to see that. The last thing that I want is for this to be the only thing that White Lies can come up with. For their energy - which is actually, not the most clear and concentrated - to disappear after this album, would be a great shame. You see, they have already wowed me. They've started at the top and I can't see where they can go next. But, I'm not in the band. I'm just a silly fan. That said, I'm just glad I've got an album that is as good as this from a band I have been into ever since they released their singles online. // 8
Lyrics: Once again, it's a little uncomfortable when trying to enjoy the lyrics to their full potential, due to the dramatics and over-the-top styling's of the words and themes. It's all very doom and gloom, and the huge chorus' don't help in that regard. Sometimes you feel a sense of insecurity with the bands lyrics, while the music remains so proud. The contrast is something that will hopefully grow on me. The imagery is often lost, as well with the way in which they express those scenarios, so to speak. Complimenting both lyrics and music is a very difficult thing to do, and as a three piece, they are limited. But, I believe experience should help them to concentrate their imagery into something more forward and intense. With all that moaning, there are certain lines that coincide with other sections - and the overall theme - really well. Which helps to envelope you in their world and encourages you to believe in what they are saying. But, as I mentioned briefly, the soppiness to their poetry (sixth-form poetry, as I've read somewhere) overshadows the witty and beautifully honest segments that are actually quite common. These are not necessarily failings or shortcomings, it's just the way they work, I guess.
And even with the singers - Harry McVeigh - forcefulness behind what he is saying, and his overall - relatively repetitive - singing style, there is an niggling urge to ignore his words and just enjoy the emotional music and synth bliss. Which is not necessarily a problem, but is more of a cute misunderstanding. A tiny, single hair on the soul of your foot. // 8
Overall Impression: Unfinished Business is, and has been, my favourite tune from this band. Farewell to the Fairground, From the Stars, and the opening, extremely forlorn track, Death are all key to the bands sound and album - which is simply named, To Lose My Life. The production (by Max Dingel and Ed buller - who helped Pulp and The Killers reach their stadium sound) is all top notch and epic in stature. The guitar tone is exquisite and the slight fuzz to the bass helps fill the songs with a more complete picture - whilst not being too overpowering so that it would detract from the simplicity to the music. The drums help structure the songs, also - which White Lies are brilliant at doing - There are very few bands around these days that are capable of creating such illusions of grandeur by the snails pace in which they build their songs. Now, on a slight downside, it's not a particularly diverse, and certainly not a very experimental album. But, there is no need for that sometimes. Sometimes, all I want is to be moved with simple and deep storytelling. And here, I got that in one of the best ways possible.
If you are interested in powerful, moving material, then this is one of the best albums to buy. Don't be put off by the comparisons that some critics and fans have been giving. Listen to the band as individuals; who have gathered themselves together and wrote some of the most elegant and saddening music this year. And, to be honest, not just this year, but for many. // 9