Album: White Lies, Big TV (Fiction)

Simon Price
Saturday 10 August 2013 16:04

Like one of Alan Partridge's chemically enhanced chickens, thinking "Why am I so massive?", White Lies were bred for bigness. Following a Number One debut album (2009's To Lose My Life …) and a Number Three follow-up (2011's Ritual), the Ealing band's third album is as epic in scale as either of its predecessors.

Big TV is reminiscent both of the White Pyjama Music of the early 1980s (Fiction Factory, China Crisis) and the portentous Big Music of the later 1980s (Tears For Fears, Simple Minds). It's as if producer Ed Buller pressed the reverb button on singer/guitarist Harry McVeigh's vocal channel on day one of recording and never unpressed it.

This kind of thing can be a soul-sapping experience (hello Editors), but White Lies have just enough elegance and intrigue beneath the bluster to carry it off.

Lines about "holding up the jaw of desire" and "spilt bottles in shopping aisles" suggest more life-of-the-mind than is usual in the genre. The shuddering synthpop of "Getting Even" is the high point, and only rarely, as on "Tricky to Love", does the trio's calculated hugeness really start to taste like an infected spinal column in a bap.

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