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White Lies - As I Try Not To Fall Apart (Album Review)

Thursday, 03 March 2022 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Charles Cave

Long-term collaborator Ed Buller appears once again to help shape White Lies’ sixth studio album ‘As I Try Not To Fall Apart’, but this time the additional resource of renowned mixer Claudius Mittendorfer (Interpol, Johnny Marr) also provides a weighty contribution. 

With the band having seen their career move from early post-punk homage into something more danceable, it’s an interesting addition and one that undoubtedly supports their desired move towards a more prog-rock stance, a genre of music highly appreciated by the Ealing three-piece.

While latter day albums have sat firmly within the 1980s with a heavy reliance on bright synths and starkly contrasting baritone vocals from frontman Harry McVeigh, ‘As I Try Not To Fall Apart’ does present itself as more of a mixed bag.

It is the sound, perhaps, of a band attempting to make the first forays into something different but in tiny baby steps, seeing them retain much of what’s come before. 

Blue Drift boasts the sort of chorus that made the band’s name and the twinkling keys hint at the prog-rock direction ever so slightly. But it’s largely uninspiring and familiar. The impressive Breathe is more satisfying as the atmospherics get ramped up alongside a Duran Duran-like bassline and influences from Wang Chung’s Dance Hall Days. 

Another standout, I Don’t Want To Go To Mars, dallies with Elon Musk’s space race with other entrepreneurs, declaring that they have little interest in living anywhere other than Earth while also asking “what kind of brainwashed idiot does?”. They’re effectively brainwashing their own fans into agreeing with them, but the catchiness of the track is undeniable.

Opener Am I Really Going To Die is another that oozes that catchy element as the band trigger A-ha comparisons, this time with the opening bars of a track that hints at sounding like a lesser cousin of their own Big TV. The lengthy Roll December, with its meatier riff reminiscent of Sly Fox’s Let’s Go All The Way, motorik closer There Is No Cure For It and the moody The End are others that have strong appeal, although a sprinkling of other tracks have less impact.

The title track is possibly the poppiest they’ve got but it lacks that killer chorus while the lacklustre Ragworm and the nondescript Step Outside feel like they add little at all, the latter in particular underpinned by an annoying, repetitive riff. White Lies’ latest creation finds itself sitting somewhere in the middle of their catalogue as they struggle to make the transformation into something more akin with their desired prog direction. 

Perhaps ditching the anthemic side and focusing on lengthy noodlings would satiate these yearnings, but it may come as a price if their clear strengths suffer. This balance will require careful consideration before album seven arrives.

White Lies Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed March 09 2022 - GLOUCESTER Gloucester Guildhall
Thu March 10 2022 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Fri March 11 2022 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy
Sat March 12 2022 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Boiler Shop
Sun March 13 2022 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Tue March 15 2022 - GLASGOW SWG3
Wed March 16 2022 - LEEDS Leeds Uni Stylus
Fri March 18 2022 - BRIGHTON Chalk
Sat March 19 2022 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Mon March 21 2022 - DUBLIN Vicar Street
Tue March 22 2022 - LIVERPOOL Grand Central Hall
Thu March 24 2022 - NORWICH Nick Rayns LCR
Fri March 25 2022 - OXFORD O2 Academy Oxford
Sat March 26 2022 - LONDON Eventim Apollo

Compare & Buy White Lies Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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Mon 27 Sep 2021
White Lies Announce Sixth LP 'As I Try Not To Fall Apart', Share Title Track And Tour Dates
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