Ealing trio, White Lies follow-up 2013 release Big TV and return with their fourth studio album Friends. Gloomy, synth laden tunes are the speciality of White Lies and Friends continues the trend albeit there are some uplifting moments as the album touches on friendships, love and the changing seasons of weather (best leave that to Paul Weller, 22 Dreams).
Vocally, Harry McVeigh delivers the lyrics of bassist Charles Cave in a solemn sobering manner that reminds of Tears For Fears. Opening track ‘Take It Out On Me’ sets the tone; electro synth, harmless inoffensive infectious hooks, perfect coffee shop music or background movie music. As McVeigh sings “I’m in love with the feeling “ the songs fails to connect and is so harmless it fails to evoke feeling. Pleasingly ‘Morning In LA’ follows and is an infectious and uplifting bright spot. Lyrically the song intrigues and is image provoking "they all got disconnected" without providing any hint of an answer. ‘Hold Back Your Love’ continues the ascendancy with dreamy beats of positivity extinguishing my initial impression.
‘Don't Want To Feel It’ is another early standout with the verses slowing the pace before an emotive eruption of euphoria as the track breaks into a powerful chorus. ‘Is My Love Enough?’ follows and despite the uplifting intro and promise slips back into neutral and fails to go anywhere interesting. Despite the title, ‘Summer Didn't Change A Thing’ lifts the soul with an outpouring of emotion "it will always hurt/it will always burn" as McVeigh convincingly delivers on lyrics that appear to reflect on a relationship gone sour. ‘Swing’ is an infectious pop number that will resonate with fans of 80s bands such as Heaven 17 and the Human League. The catchy hook is backed-up lyrically as the track leaves the listener spellbound as it lodges itself in the subconscious “I'm not trying to hide it, disguise or deny it". More of this is required though as ‘Come On’ and ‘Right Place’ follow and almost blend into one another. Evidently there are similarities toThe Killers but essentially the tracks fizz up, fizz out and disappear without leaving any kind of impression. ‘Don't Fall’ closes the ten track album and deceives my brain momentarily as it conjures up images of Flash Gordon and the birdmen. Overall there are some pleasant moments of sunshine but at times Friends struggles to escape the long dark nights of winter.
Words: Bazza Mills
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