Words by Tom F-H
Some artists use their magic to escape from the clutches of reality, some just say it as it is. Fans of White Lies are not going to be disappointed, as the band are set to release their most raw lyrical and emotionally topical music to date. ‘As I Try Not To Fall Apart’ is an anthology of White Lies’ most successful and genuine themes, as they forgo much of the fluff of typical electro-pop song-writing, and simply say what everyone is thinking.
From the get-go, Harry McVeigh’s (vocals and guitar) lyrics are relatable and, as he confronts his deeply personal feelings about life, the rest of the band smash in with a big funky groove. This is what White Lies do best, and expect to hear it all throughout the ten-track LP. ‘Am I Really Going To Die’ sets the tone for the entire album, with classic 80s radio synth sounds and lo-fi production on the vocals. White Lies’ sound is drowned in short reverb and chorus sounds which will twist the otherwise simple and effective instrumental arrangement around listeners’ headphones.
Long-time fans will be happy to know that producer Ed Buller worked on the majority of the album, but, excitingly, the band are switched things up by bringing in the esteemed Claudius Mittendorfer who has produced records for none other than Weezer and Panic! At The Disco. The combination of classic White Lies sounds combined with the fresh takes from Mittendorfer leaves their music nostalgic, but new.
From reflecting on personal griefs in ‘Breathe’, to criticising irresponsible billionaires in ‘I Don’t Want To Go To Mars’, White Lies seamlessly merge driven, funk basslines, explosive rock choruses, and stark political commentary.
‘I don’t want to go to Mars. What kind of brainwashed idiot does?’
White Lies state that this album is some of the ‘poppiest’ stuff they have ever done, and that the album is a signpost for what is to come. However, driven lead guitar and driving basslines evidence that the band’s affinity for rock has not been dropped, instead interwoven with their other styles, creating the unique, progressive sound that made them successful.
Eerie, synth-led verses open up in to big, changing choruses, which cycle through different chords and keys as though a story is being told through the music as well as the lyrics. White Lies have mastered the structuring of songs, as ‘Step-Outside’ bursts into an upbeat groove, following the more angst fuelled tracks previous.
The writing process of ‘As I Try Not To Fall Apart’ streamlined everything great about White Lies, and their electro-pop, progressive rock mashup is both easy to listen and groove along to, and full of iconic motifs that only they could have gifted onto the post-punk, post-COVID British scene.
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