White Lies, the alternative rock group from across the pond, has released their newest album, Ritual. Their debut album, To Lose My Life, was the first British No. 1 album of '09. They quickly gained recognition as the years breakthrough band as they were showered with countless award nominations. While many compared their sound to productions of Britain-past (Joy Division, Echo & the Bunnymen), they adamantly stressed a disassociation from this musical movement. The band, consisting of Harry McVeigh, Charles Cave, and Jack Lawrence-Brown, give their influential credit to Talking Heads. While Ritual does possess its unique musical traits, it's difficult to avoid making the connection to the 80s New Wave.
White Lies' latest manifests something that the new wave had lacked. McVeigh's powerful vocals are best compared to Interpol's Paul Banks. But shining through the sounds of gloom are uplifting lyrics. The opening track, "Is Love", makes this unmistakable. McVeigh bellows the chorus, "And I know the only thing Ive ever found/thats greater than it always sounds/is love." Accompanying McVeigh's strong vocals are heavy guitar and thunderous drums, all precisely intertwined with electronic production that rarely overwhelms. Initially slow-paced, the tracks gain strength as they progress. "Bigger Than Us" will surely be the fan favorite. The most dominant track in every facet, it would fit perfectly into the climax of any action flick.
Interestingly, to accompany Ritual, White Lies created a short film. Gritty and action-packed, the film is in essence, a Guy Ritchie picture that is guided by the tracks of Ritual. Not directed by Ritchie, but by Colin O'Toole, the film provides a narrative background to the groups newest album. Their take on the music video gives the entire album a new personality. Fluctuation of tone and mood of the songs are more easily noticed.
The long-awaited Ritual will undoubtedly please White Lies fans. Not much has changed from To Lose My Life, and it's difficult to condemn their regularity. Check out the 12-minute short film and get the full effect of Ritual.