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Title: Ritual
Artist: White Lies
Genre: Post-Punk / Rock / Electronic
Release Date: 28th January 2011
Label: Polydor

Album Review

Back in 2009 the young trio WHITE LIES landed one of THE album hits with their debut 'To Lose My Life', rewarded with favourable reviews all over the place. Now it's 2011 and the three-piece has just released their sophomore 'Ritual' which still has to prove if it's able to fill or even expand the footsteps of its predecessor. The album's being kicked off by 'Is Love' that first brings forth a vintage, almost industrial like sound styling with ominous undertones, before the sublime timbre of Harry McVeigh comes in along with resonating, crystalline guitar lines. While progressing further an increased use of electronics in the music becomes obvious but sustained tones of guitar are added in the chorus of the quite calm song that is a promising start of this new album. 'Strangers' on the contrary brings back the well-known set of instruments in a driving anthem. It also strikes harder tones with harsh guitars and distorted bass throbs while in the further course a wonderful string synth melody emerges and reminds somehow of THE CURE, and last but not least it has a chorus that just gives you goose bumps.

In that regard it goes pretty much hand in hand with 'Bigger Than Us' that initially builds on meandering electronic rhythms and subtle synths. Then suddenly the main part towers up, inflaming the night like a majestic beacon. It's literally huge in every aspect. 'Peace & Quiet' all of its duration maintains a very serene mood. Not only synths but also guitars weave a thick network of atmospheres for McVeigh's vocals to unfold their strengths on. 'Streetlights' upon first listen became a favourite. I just like the way the more sonorous vocals interact with the moods built by the instruments. Overall, the track is less electronic than others, just adding a few melodies and little gimmicks here and there. With following 'Holy Ghost' no time's wasted and it starts right up with a multi-faceted collage of drums and distorted bass that really has an awesome groove to it. Can't wait to hear that one live since the force lying in it will unfold even better on a stage! The electronics some might have missed on 'Streetlights' are being added on 'Turn The Bells' in abundance, and for most of its duration it feels like a harder-edged synth pop track. A whole new facet to the WHITE LIES sound and I like it.

'The Power & The Glory' keeps it electronic but reverts back to a rather pristine form; a retro style if you want, leaving as much room as possible to the wide sound layers. As the end comes closer a present drum section joins, not to outshine but to contribute to some sort of subdued crescendo. To say it straight away: It's not getting any faster anymore on the final few tracks of the album, but even through 'Bad Love' is slow it has strength and passion, while 'Calm Down' recalls the minimalist electronic with the drum patterns that with later happening progressions leave an impression. The melodies and atmospheric fabric suggest a depth you think you can reach into if you'd try. I won't stir a fire in saying 'Ritual' is even bigger and better; I'm saying it's different and that's the best about it. Just think of how many band release a sophomore with minor changes in sound that make you feel of listening to leftover tracks from the debut album sessions. This isn't to say WHITE LIES did a complete U-turn, but there is a greater use of electronics on the album that' is not meant to displace but to expand the scopes of the band's sound. So all that's left to say is: Congratulations for a great second-born!


01. Is Love - 4:52
02. Strangers - 5:24
03. Bigger Than Us - 4:43
04. Peace & Quiet - 5:54
05. Streetlights - 5:00
06. Holy Ghost - 4:22
07. Turn The Bells - 5:04
08. The Power & The Glory - 5:13
09. Bad Love - 3:58
10. Come Down - 5:10


Harry McVeigh
Charles Cave
Jack Lawrence-Brown


Cover Picture



Music: 9
Sound: 9
Extras: -
Total: 9 / 10

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