Released 19th January 2009
I recently covered a White Lies gig at Sheffield Academy for GigJunkies and this awakened a long dormant beast from deep within my collapsing heart. When you start to be a grown-up, it is so easy to forget about the days of dancing on sticky dance floors with one of your arms and your head sharing the same hole of your t-shirt because you took your top off at some point and now you are too drunk to put it back on properly. Oh halcyon days…
White Lies first album To Lose My Life was everywhere in 2009 but honestly I haven’t really thought about it since that desperate summer. ‘Farewell to the Fairground’ still pops up on my playlists occasionally but their gig in Sheffield last week reminded me of a number of songs that I hadn’t thought about in years.
‘Death’ is the opening track and it is perfect as an introduction to the band. Hysterical lyrics, massive synths and a catchy chorus, all wrapped up in warm melodrama. White Lies inhabit the same miserabilist sonic space as Interpol and Editors. The difference is that White Lies have a glorious lack of self awareness, so instead of trying to wrap up their feelings in some kind of cool enigma, they just put it all out there for everyone to enjoy.
Their debut album is the best example of the singer Harry McVeigh wearing his heart on his sleeve. The title track for example features the wonderfully bonkers lyric ‘let’s grow old together and die at the same time’, a sentence that literally means nothing but sounds ace. Crucially though, these songs are musically brilliant. ‘A Place to Hide’ has a gargantuan chorus that demands repeated listens and while White Lies never stray too far from their signature sound, when the songs are so strong it barely matters.
‘Unfinished Business’ sounds like the soundtrack to the end of the world, ‘E.S.T.’ is ethereally atmospheric and ‘From The Stars’ is my personal favourite song on the album. Indeed, ‘From The Stars’ would slot in nicely on any Killers album and still be the classiest track there.
Looking back however, ‘Farewell to the Fairground’ probably is the best track on the album. The concluding crescendo really is a beautifully crafted moment and the underrated ‘The Price of Love’ closes the album with a flourish.
It is easy to be flippant about White Lies but while their po faced lyrics may seem a little over the top, McVeigh sings them with such passion that he makes it work.
I’m really glad I rediscovered this album. A lost classic.
Track of the Week: Elbow – Magnificent (She Says)
Guy Garvey’s voice has always felt like a warm jumper on a cold afternoon and the first single from their latest album Little Fictions catches him at his soulful best. Insistent drums and melodic keyboard compliment lush orchestration to create one of the Northern bands best songs to date.
The kind of song that makes you close your eyes like a dickhead while singing along. Oh you don’t do that? Just me then…