Some of the biggest indie dance-floor hits of the coming years.
Amanda Farah 2009-01-16
The latest product of the hype machine, White Lies make their full-length debut with a sound that does justice to 80s goth-dance bands like Depeche Mode. With lyrics as dark as their music, they're more heartbroken than romantic, expressing fear instead of angst, although they are a bit preoccupied with teardrops. But pop accessibility means that White Lies narrowly skirt any associations with less mature emo bands.
Their verses are by turns awkward and sometimes just a mouthful, yet always build to tight, occasionally bombastic and often very catchy choruses. Sticking to the strict formula of a quiet start ambling towards a wailing end, however, sometimes weighs down otherwise punchy tracks. The pinnacle of this is the penultimate track, Nothing To Give, which falls prey to the folly of the obligatory slow song, with vocals nearly drowned out by boggy synths and no supporting rhythm.
Using synths to enrich the tracks reinforces the 80s feel without resorting to too much caricature, especially on Fifty On Our Foreheads and A Place To Hide where keys take the lead, overlaid with melodic bass lines. Guitars comfortably take a back seat to the swirling tones as long as the rhythm section drives things forward.
The album's standout is the title track, which has an unexpected romantic turn in the chorus: ''Let's grow old together/And die at the same time''. Morbid, yes, but also rather sweet, even if you might not want it printed on your Valentine. If White Lies succeeds in living up to the hype, it will be on the strength of this very tight, very danceable pop gem. It would be almost criminal if it wasn't a radio hit. Using that as a standard, White Lies may actually have the potential to create some of the biggest indie dance-floor hits of the coming years. We shall see...