Brushing off the cobwebs after over two and a half years away, White Lies deliver a near-masterclass of a comeback ahead of their forthcoming album Friends, due to be released this Friday (October 7th).
Despite their long absence from the capital’s music circuit; this being their first show in London for almost three years, The Ealing-based five piece show no signs of rustiness as they rattle through hits new and old.
“It’s great to be back, even if a little terrifying,” lead singer Harry McVeigh proclaims as the band take to the stage of the Shoreditch Kamio club. With only 200 tickets being sold for the gig ahead of a full UK tour this November, the night promises to be an emotional and intimate affair, and it doesn’t disappoint.
The band open with ‘Take it out on me,’ the first single from their soon-to-be new release, before delighting the audience with the anthemic ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ and iconic first album single ‘To Lose My Life.’ The sound is crisp and the performance tight. With McVeigh and co. showing the city exactly what they’ve been missing since the last London performance.
Playing material from all three of their albums, as well as a number of previously unreleased tracks, White Lies strike the balance to near perfection.
New numbers such as ‘Morning in LA’ and ‘Hold Back Your Love’ are received with gusto, whilst old numbers such as ‘Unfinished Business’ and ‘Farewell to the Fairground’ are greeted like old friends and bellowed back by the packed out crowd.
The band even indulge fans with tracks from their 2009 debut To Lose My Life that have not been played live in almost five years, such as the hauntingly poetic ‘From The Stars’ and blistering set highlight ‘The Price of Love.’
Notable in their absence are ‘First Time Caller’ and ‘Mother Tongue’ from the band’s last release Big TV. However, the set still remains littered with hits, all delivered with the confidence of a band well versed in the art of winning over audiences. On this occasion, however, they needed have worried; the punters are almost universal in their appreciation of what is a slick yet personal performance.
The indie-rock group’s new material is distinctly more electronic than some of their earlier hits. ‘Morning in LA’ and ‘Come On’ have all the hallmarks of indie-night dance-floor fillers, marking a distinct departure from the morbid, booming tone present throughout their earlier career. The transition is an interesting one, although it is hard to make the case that the material stands up to their breakthrough tracks. Nonetheless, they demonstrate enough promise to show that Friends will be worth a listen when it is released this week.
Despite this, it is hard to escape the feeling that White Lies are still trying to break free from the shackles of an album so well received it cannot be topped. Indeed, the sets best tracks are still those taken from their 2009 debut. “I live on the right side, I sleep on the left, that’s why everything has gotta be life or death,” offers McVeigh on ‘Death’, a track that still sounds as fresh tonight as it did on its release eight years ago. It may be that they never manage to surpass the brilliance of To Lose My Life. However, when it still sounds this great, it’s hard to complain.
Closing out their set with ‘Bigger Than Us’, the only track in the set from their second album, White Lies disappear with a bow and a flourish, safe in the knowledge that they can perform to and win over audiences far larger than this evening’s cohort. On this evidence, they’re probably right.