In the Middle with White Lies

White Lies are a common feature on any alternative rock playlist, with tracks like ‘Death’ and ‘Farewell To The Fairground’ propelling the band from small-time gigs onto shows at Wembley, supporting bands like Muse and Kings Of Leon in the process. It’s been seven years since the London three-piece (a five-piece live) released the award-winning To Lose My Life. Yet the band are still touring the world, and are due to play at Leeds University Union’s Stylus on Wednesday 30th November.

To say White Lies hit the ground running back in 2009 would be a massive understatement. Prior to the release of their first album, To Lose My Life, which was later awarded number one in the UK Albums Chart, the Ealing-based post-punk outfit had already booked a place on the 2009 NME Awards Tour and enjoyed a headline performance on the BBC Introducing Stage at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend.

This was largely due to the success of ‘Unfinished Business’ and ‘Death’, the latter being Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record in the World and later remixed by Drum ’n’ Bass frontrunners Chase & Status. A television debut on Jools Holland ensued and the band had already solidified their position in British indie music, prior to their hotly anticipated first album release.

“We had been a band for quite some years before [To Lose My Life] and released some 7” singles too. We didn’t anticipate our first album release reaching UK number one, and we obviously enjoyed the praise. [But] the attention wasn’t a total surprise as we had already invested many years of hard work”. Cave was right: White Lies did deserve all of the praise they received in the post-To Lose My Life period. The high calibre production of their first album led to the band touring the world. As Cave states, “Being in White Lies suddenly meant getting to see The Great Wall, Niagara Falls, cherry blossom in Harajuku Park”.

2011 witnessed the release of Ritual and two years later Big TV, which highlights the band’s commitment to continually produce albums rather than enjoying the many luxuries that come with being a successful rock band. “We all have our hobbies and pastimes that keep us occupied. We all love to cook, read, walk; it’s amazing how those simple pleasures can fill days, weeks and months”, Cave reiterated.

When considering the success that White Lies experienced in the early stages of their career, you have to admire their persistence to produce records. Their experience is evident in Friends, an album which showcase’s the band’s more mature sound while keeping their style the same. Like any band, White Lies enjoy touring, with Cave describing playing at Wembley as “pretty badass”, but there is much more to White Lies than simply touring.

Friends was released on Infectious record label and the influence on this record label has helped elevate White Lies to similar heights they experienced seven years ago. After exploring the band’s website, I was immersed in this user-interactive maze where I had to collect letters which then revealed hidden content. This clever and innovative piece of music marketing is something that Infectious had orchestrated and can only be seen as a positive for the band’s progression.

The interactive maze correlated with the artwork on Friends, and this has always been a vital step in producing an album. “We have been fortunate to work with a graphic design company called Big Active which have produced our artwork on the past three albums. The visual side of the brand has always been important to us and it’s helped steer this ship massively,” Carl affirmed.

The standout single from Friends has to be ‘Take It Out On Me’ which has a poppy essence to it, similar to some of White Lies’ earliest records. Their album is out now and is definitely worth a listen to as it heralds similar qualities to some of their greatest work.

If you want to see one of the best alternative rock band to come out of Britain this past decade then head to Stylus on Wednesday 30th November, tickets are still available.

James Bate

(Image: NME)

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