It was back in 2007 that White Lies formed from the ashes of Fear of Flying, a band whom began to increasingly write songs that they felt just didn’t suit their style. In 2009 they released their debut album, To Lose My Life…, followed in 2011 by sophomore Ritual, my personal favourite and arguably the band’s most successful record; spawning huge tracks such as ‘Bigger Than Us’ and cementing the band alongside the likes of Editors, whom they are often compared to. The band utilise a strong indie/80s sound, lead by the impressive vocals of Harry McVeigh.
Kicking off Five is lengthy track ‘Time To Give’, which clock in at seven minutes, 35 seconds, and is an ambitious and bold opener. The track sees the band mostly sticking to their guns, bringing everything that their fans love to the table. Despite its length, the song manages to keep the listener’s attention from start to finish and shows the band progressing into a landscape in which they have mastered their signature sound.
Next on the track listing is ‘Never Alone’, a track which continues from its predecessor but takes the pace up a little. The soothing instrumentation is something White Lies often manage to do well, but it particularly stands out with this track.
‘Finish Line’ is the powerful ballad fans have come to expect from the band, contrasting a softer melody with aggressive riffs.
Next track ‘Kick Me’ is possibly the highlight of the album, there’s an almost Oasis vibe to it with a little electronic thrown in for good measure. This track is not only a stand out from the album, but a stand out from the band’s entire discography, featuring strong lyrics, production and all round great ambition. The repetition of: “I won’t be alone” combined with the closing piano keys helps keep things interesting, leaving you longing for more. It’s a shame this track didn’t reach the seven minute runtime of the opener, but it at least surpasses the five minute mark.
The likes of ‘Tokyo’ and ‘Jo?’ provide something to dance to. There’s a funkiness to single ‘Tokyo’ and it’d be a shame if ‘Jo?’ doesn’t get its own single release.
Tracks ‘Denial’ and ‘Believe It’ contribute to an already solid track list, there isn’t really a bad song on here.
As ‘Fire and Wings’ begins to play, there’s a definite Gary Numan vibe to the album’s closing track. If anything, this is a compliment to the band’s production and a sign that despite sticking to their roots, they’ve expanded in some ways. The song is an excellent way to finish the album, leaving you wondering whether this could be an insight into where they plan to go next.
There’s a sense of safety about this record. This album isn’t so much about treading new waters, but polishing what the band does best. If you haven’t listened to them much, I’d say it’s a good introduction to them, but it’s also sure to satisfy the fans who have been following them for years. One thing that is noticeable is the emphasis on melody they take with this record and, for the most part, it pays off well for them.