Artist: White Lies
Genre: Dark Rock
Release Date: 1st February 2019
Label: PIAS Records
Ten years in, and the UK’s WHITE LIES are still with us, still filling cavernous concert halls with fans eager for their brand of gloomy, doomy punchy Rock, and still releasing albums that show little sign of straying from the chosen path. The depressingly unimaginative title of ‘Five’ for their fifth album (yawn) and this strict adherence to what has become a fairly formulaic musical approach, perhaps suggest WHITE LIES need a rethink, or at least a sliver of bravery to try something a bit different and see what they are capable of. There’s something a bit cold about the whole approach, something a bit too safe.
Having said that, this is not a bad album at all. It opens in surprisingly upbeat manner, ‘Time To Give’ would have been a perfectly good radio single back in the eighties, complete with wonky synth and layered backing vocals. ‘Never Alone’ is a WHITE LIES standard, big of beat, strong of vocal and all the time building towards a memorable, towering chorus where everything is exactly where it should be, at exactly the right moment. Hard to love, but impossible to hate. A bit of gentle strumming underpins ‘Finish Line’, which bobs and sways about nicely enough, but the horrible lyrics on ‘Kick Me’ simply serve to detract from a song that’s mediocre at best. It plods like it really can’t be arsed.
‘Tokyo’ is interesting, it’s odd and it probably shouldn’t work. But it somehow manages to weave quite a spell as it goes about its business mixing happily what sounds like two separate songs into one satisfying whole. More of this please! There’s a stuttering beat on ‘Jo?’ and another massive chorus lurking close by. ‘Denial’, in a similar vein, is one of those big sing-along-songs that will set stadiums on fire. The synths on ‘Believe It’ try to ruin a perfectly decent song but thankfully are drowned out largely, which leaves ‘Fire And Wings’ to close the album. It takes an age to get going, before aiming for epic, even Harry McVeigh’s normally measured vocals cracking under the strain of it all. But it doesn’t quite reach those heights it aims for, getting fat and sticky in some proggy guitar glue and ending up just being annoying. Pity.
What WHITE LIES achieve on ‘Five’ is up for debate - it consolidates that when they do what they do they do it well, but it smacks of laziness at times, when half-baked songs are almost cockily pushed to the surface with a feeling that "it’s ok, we’re WHITE LIES, we’ll get away with it". Tsk tsk. These boys really could do better, and I genuinely hope that by album number six they come up with not just a better title, but some new, exciting and well executed ideas to make them an important guitar band, not just a career band.
01. Time To Give
02. Never Alone
03. Finish Line
04. Kick Me
08. Believe It
09. Fire And Wings
Harry McVeigh - Vocals, guitar
Charles Cave - Bass, backing vocals
Jack Lawrence-Brown - Drums
https://www.whitelies.com / https://www.facebook.com/WhiteLies
Total: 7 / 10