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White Lies: Post-Punk “Love Lockdown”

The New Now

I'm not a big fan of liars, although I did enjoy an opening set by New York-based experimentalists Liars at Radiohead's Hollywood Bowl gig last summer. As for White Lies, when my editor first mentioned the band, I searched my iTunes library and the only thing that turned up was "White Lies" by '80s country-punks Jason & The (Nashville) Scorchers. As much as I loved that band, the White Lies I write of now have nothing to do with country or Nashville, but they do owe a huge debt to the '80s.

White Lies are a London-based trio consisting of singer/guitarist Harry McVeigh, bassist Charles Cave, and drummer Jack Lawrence Brown, which actually began its musical life as a band called Fear Of Flying (not to be confused with the Saratoga, New York-based band of the same name). Under that moniker the trio released a pair of Brit pop-influenced singles manned by of Smiths/Blur producer Stephen Street in 2006. While most bands would be happy to gain a foothold, our lads weren't. In October 2007, a mysterious bulletin was posted on the band's MySpace page proclaiming: "Fear of Flying is DEAD ... White Lies is alive!" That bulletin wasn't only stunning because it was grammatically incorrect. It strongly suggested the band had changed its name and indeed it was true. And with the change of name came a change in musical direction. "White lies are common but quite dark, and that's how we see ourselves," one of the band members once explained. Spooky, huh?

Indeed the newly christened combo explored the dark post-punk sounds made popular by such '80s legends as Joy Division, the Julian Cope-fronted Teardrop Explodes, and Echo & The Bunnymen, who happen to be some of my favorite bands ever. For you newbies in the crowd, think Interpol and Editors and you'll catch on just fine--that's right, dark sinister, grooving bass lines, cold hard beats, metallic shards of guitar noise, and a singer that sounds as if he's at the end of his rope.

White Lies have already proved quite successful in its homeland. Its full-length debut, To Lose My Life, entered the U.K. chart at #1 in late January. While us poor Americans will have to wait until March 17 for its Stateside release, for now you can check out the videos below. I think you'll be telling everyone you know (about) White Lies in no time.

Here's the clip for "Death," the title track from the band's 2008 EP and also featured on To Lose My Life

Here are the clips for "Unfinished Business" and "To Lose My Life" from--you guessed it--To Lose My Life. On the heels of the album's U.S. release, White Lies will co-headline an NME-sponsored trek of the States with Friendly Fires, beginning March 24 at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C. Following those dates, the trio will travel to the Southern California desert to play Coachella on April 17.

 

 

For the record, White Lies aren't simply '80s revivalists with their heads in the post-punk clouds. The band recently paid a visit to the U.K.-based Radio 1's Live Lounge with Jo Wiley, a program that asks artists to perform their own hit along with one of their current fave raves. White Lies chose Kanye West's "Love Lockdown," stripping away Kanye's Auto-Tuned treatment to reveal a mournful, tribal beat-driven blues stomp.

For those reading this in the U.K., you can view the performance here on the Live Lounge official site. Unfortunately, the site doesn't allow us Yanks the pleasure of viewing the clip legitimately, so we have an alternate means below. Just keep in mind, it may become inoperable at any given moment, forever locking down our love for White Lies.

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