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White Lies - Five (Album Review)

Thursday, 07 February 2019 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Steve Gullick

After 2016’s brilliant guilty pleasure ‘Friends’, London’s most obvious ‘80s worshippers White Lies had a task on their hands to maintain such high standards. Their fifth album continues the recent trend of adopting the decade’s glitzier keyboards, with fewer danceable moments than before. It also also does little to alleviate accusations of unoriginality, this time even down to the album’s title: 'Five'.

It feels like White Lies have been around forever, perhaps because of their love for vintage sounds, but it’s actually only 10 years since they broke through with ‘To Lose My Life…’. An album every couple of years since then has been a decent return for fans, and here they’ve enlisted the help of previous aide Ed Buller, who also produced their debut, as well as Flood, who adds keys to several tracks.

The catchiness that lit up ‘Friends’ isn’t so clear this time. As always there are specific nods to the past, particularly the poppy gem Never Alone, where one particular riff bears an uncanny resemblance to Fiction Factory’s (Feels Like) Heaven.

The slower, brooding Kick Me also dips into an earlier decade, but for once it’s to grab a guitar passage that sounds somewhat like Mansun’s Wide Open Space from 1997.

Finish Line borrows from Bryan Adams’ Summer of ’69 for one riff, but it also delivers one of the first seeds that will be sown into your memory bank thanks to an irresistibly catchy chorus. Expect to see it hauled out for Olympic Games TV outros.

There are other catchy moments, notably Denial, but closer Fire and Wings feels a little misplaced, walking a darker, post-apocalyptic path of gloom. It even sounds Muse-tinged in places as the bravest boys are “waiting for the world to end”. The epic opener Tie To Give is equally out of place but it’s also a cracker where an almost syncopated keyboard hook builds to a peak.

So, with a more expansive collection of songs making up ‘Five’, White Lies have refused to sit on their laurels and milk the success of ‘Friends’ any further. It’s not as good as its predecessor, but it’s also not to be ignored. Above all else it proves that Harry McVeigh could sing a chorus about taking a shit and it would sound anthemic. Existing devotees won’t be disappointed.

White Lies Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu February 07 2019 - LIVERPOOL Liverpool Olympia
Fri February 08 2019 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Sat February 09 2019 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Mon February 11 2019 - EDINBURGH Liquid Room
Wed February 13 2019 - CAMBRIDGE Cambridge Junction
Thu February 14 2019 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Fri February 15 2019 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Tue March 26 2019 - DUBLIN Button Factory
Wed March 27 2019 - CORK Cyprus Avenue
Thu March 28 2019 - GALWAY Roisin Dubh
Fri March 29 2019 - DUBLIN Button Factory
Sat March 30 2019 - BELFAST Elmwood Hall

Click here to compare & buy White Lies Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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