Post-punk revivalist band White Lies has been hailed as the group on the rise since its debut album release, “To Lose Your Life,” back in 2009. The Brits’ ability to craft haunting melodies with uplifting themes landed them at No. 1 on the UK charts, and now they’re back for round two with “Ritual.”
On its sophomore release, the trio steps back from its straightforward dance rock to experiment with techno-electro elements. “Ritual” brings the listener into a world of industrialized synthesizer textures with lead singer Harry McVeigh’s melodramatic vocals providing a ghastly sheen to each of the tracks.
“Ritual’s” first single, “Bigger Than Us,” slithers into existence with pulsing synth and drums as McVeigh describes an eerie scene of darkened tunnels and apologies on fingernails. The track feeds itself up until it crashes into a euphoric manifesto with McVeigh proclaiming, “I don’t want you to hold me, I want you to pray.” Emotion reigns supreme as the band shreds away on power chords to close out the song.
Once listeners sift through the gruesome and depressing descriptors of “Turn the Bells,” they will find a melancholic ode to friendship. The song’s thundering drum hits and distorted synthesizers evoke feelings of doom that coincide with the hopelessness of the story line. McVeigh suggests friendship trumps all with the lyric, “You find some best friends. We’ll hold each other, and I’ll turn the bells.”
In its second album, White Lies has matured and developed enough to become comfortable with its sonic experimentation. By doing so, the band has separated itself from traditional contemporaries, and forced fellow Joy Division admirers along with Interpol and Editors to forge a sound all their own.
3.5 out of 4 stars