White Lies at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
After entering a three-year-long hiatus following previous album Big TV (and the tour that accompanied it), White Lies are taking to the road once again in support of brand new long player Friends. The new record’s title is apt for the first leg of their latest journey: tonight’s sell-out show at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire is a short distance from the band’s West London base. A triumphant homecoming vibe is palpable from the outset, and there’s a definite sense that these friends have been missed.
Further evidence of fan loyalty is immediately apparent when anthem for the willingly submissive Take It Out on Me incites a mass singalong despite this being released less than two months ago. It’s also made immediately clear that there has been no great departure in White Lies’ approach, with brooding verses and euphoric choruses continuing to be the order of the day. Much has been made of the retro aspect to the Ealing three-piece sound, with ethereal synths laid over chunky power-chord guitar, combining with frontman Harry McVeigh’s bassy vocal delivery in a way that calls back to icons of the first wave of post-punk such as Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen. While these sonic influences are especially clear on cuts such as A Place to Hide and To Lose My Life, White Lies lyrical message tends to comprise more charming angst than outright gothic darkness (Ian Curtis never sang about getting “high scores on solitaire” as McVeigh does on Streetlights).
That’s not to suggest that White Lies lack heart. With a no-nonsense, head-down style of delivery, they possess a rock’n’roll authenticity with such fundamental appeal as for there to be the odd greying head visible among the primarily fresh-faced moshing masses at front and centre. The band’s main aim appears to be making music that inspires audiences to jump about and shout along in joyful abandon, and in that respect, they’re an unqualified success. The entirety of the Empire’s dancefloor seems to bounce as on as the main set closes with the hard-hitting Death, before an encore culminating in a rendition of Bigger Than Us that threatens to take the roof off and sends the crowd home in sweaty revelry.
Photos: Guifre de Peray
For further information about White Lies and future events visit here.