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Reviews

White Lies
To Lose My Life Julian Marszalek , January 6th, 2009 07:07

The miserable dank weather, the filling in of tax forms and the paying of their attendant bills, the cold and hungry weeks spent between pay cheques, the post-Christmas credit card bills… few things in life are as crap and soul destroying as the month of January. Yet be that as it may, nothing saps life with a depressing inevitability quite as much as the usual “Ones To Watch…” lists that make the pages of the music press each and every year. Largely devoid of originality, daring or all-out creativity, things have come to a pretty pass when awards are dished out simply for being signed and showing commercial potential. Cynical and manipulative, music is no longer allowed to exist on its own terms; it has to be buffed, polished and with an adherence to strict demographic profiles if it’s permitted to exist at all. Ergo, White Lies.

To Lose My Life has to be one the most pessimistic and disparaging albums to have been released in quite some time. Its creators would have you believe that as a compliment; just out of their teens and formed from the ashes of indie nearly-rans Fear Of Flying with an obvious debt to their patron saint Ian Curtis, the threesome’s morbid pre-occupation with mortality (see 'Death', 'From The Stars' and the title track for starters) over the period of ten songs generates a feeling akin to misplaced teenage angst rather than a long, hard look into the heart of darkness; less Joy Division then and more sub-Editors - and that's at a push.

But more than that, White Lies debut album feels like a Frankenstein's monster cobbled and stitched together from the exhumed offcuts of Ultravox, Tears For Fears, Kissing The Pink and any number of bands that would have secured Peter Powell’s approval back in the bad old days of the 80s and then run past a carefully-vetted focus group for final production tweaks before gaining their full approval.

White Lies’ continual reliance on the shuffling off of this mortal coil becomes increasingly laughable as the album progresses. The ability not to guffaw as singer-guitarist Harry McVeigh sombrely intones “You’ve got blood on your hands and it’s mine” ('Unfinished Business') may be seriously challenged, but straight faces remain an absolute impossibility when he opens 'From The Stars' with, “I saw a friend I once knew at a funeral” while elsewhere on 'Fitting On Our Foreheads' the non-appearance of Midge Ure to bellow out, “This means nothing to me!” only compounds the increasing disappointment and sense of outraged incredulity this album ultimately engenders.

White Lies are this country’s unnecessary answer to the pompous and bloated guff of The Killers. Preening and posturing with an over-inflated sense of self-importance, To Lose My Life has a whole lot of nothing going on even as it attempts to convince you otherwise. This remains a vacuous and soulless experience throughout, but then again it would be; the trio sold their souls the moment they signed on the dotted line for a corporate wash and scrub up before being fed through a relentless industrial sized hype machine. White Lies? Big bloody whoppers with knobs on comes much closer to the mark.

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