[sic] Magazine

White Lies – Ritual

The problem with White Lies is not that they are bland, copyist or ‘crap’ but rather that they flatter to deceive. They give the impression that they might be onto something only to disappoint with the final product. In this case the finished article in question is Ritual, the follow-up to their debut of a couple of years back. Little things betray this group. That they re-branded from Fear of Flying into a kind of calorie-free Interpol (Career move or genuine change of styles?) Also that they slide their albums out early in the New Year to maximize chart position. (Cynical or just playing the industry game?)


White Lies fail to convince. They fail in the way Furniture and Blancmange failed – because they could never back up their one and only good song. They fail in the way Ultravox , Duran Duran and Tears For Fears failed – by being stylish but vapid. None of this would really matter a jot were it not for the fact that there is some potential in here. McVeigh’s voice, for example, is decent. He still occasionally reminds me of Julian Cope , but I kind of like that.

To Lose My Life… had a couple of great songs, Ritual is more consistent but with less standouts. Why aren’t they better than this? I suspect it is because of the underlying mistrust. Fakery itself in music isn’t a show stopper, but the music has to be excellent. If it isn’t, the pretensions begin to jar. At their best White Lies are okay but they are also capable of descending to embarrassing depths. The more weighty McVeigh tries to be with his lyrics, the more it doesn’t quite work. Although to be fair, Ritual is a grower. They have their moments this lot – ‘The Power & the Glory’ for example, a kind of synthpop stomper, is really working for me. Yet, I suspect they will never really be ‘my band’ .

Thinking about it, the group would probably snap our hands off for a career along Ultravox/Tears For Fears lines. I doubt White Lies would see it as ‘failure’ at all. That itself is a perfect illustration of why I can’t buy into them.



To Lose My Life…