rock? it’s bigger than us (but we’re dealing with it)

10 Feb

I’ve never been a huge fan of White Lies. Basically, I am not a fan of the current rock scene in Great Britain (and Europe in general) with maybe a few exceptions that include Pulled Apart By Horses and Manchester’s Elbow. I absolutely am a fan of the current (and former) British electro scene, which was and is mind-blowing. Good days of British rock scene ended with the Jesus and Mary Chain decaying, Blur recording their last two albums (which were far better than their previous albums) and Radiohead getting involved more in the electro scene rather than rock. Somehow PJ Harvey still kept rocking and there were and are several alternative bands that really work hard to defend the honor of British rock. But what is mainstream now is hard to define as any of the rock genres.

Hence, I was pretty surprised with the newest album of White Lies. I wasn’t even very happy to listen to Ritual. A friend of mine kept forcing me to borrow it from him at least. And I was like a hardcore fanatic.

Finally I borrowed Ritual and listened to it. And? Well, I was shocked. Ok, it’s not perfect, it’s not my kind of music. It’s corny, naive, too soft for my taste, too repetitive, too… without any taste really. But I was surprised that it’s not so bad after all. Somehow (I think I’m getting old, damn!) I found it peculiar that I could actually feel the pleasure of listening to simple melodies and corny synthesizers were, actually, pretty entertaining.

What is, however, most touching when it comes to this album, is that White Lies, against all odds, is not afraid to use elements of other musical genres. I love the influences of glam rock and new wave. It’s somehow Bowie-ish, maybe a bit Joy Divisionesque and, above all, very much indebted to the legacy of New Order. It is something that, for sure, deserves some attention.

The downside of this album, though, is that I have a feeling as if it starts with several catchy and interesting songs and gets more and more repetitive and boring in the end. The last few songs bored me to death, which was disappointing, since tracks that open the album (Is Love, Peace & Quiet, Streetlights among them) do make you focus on music and I even (good Lord!) caught myself singing along with it. I wouldn’t blame the structure of the album though. I think it may be the sole problem with this kind of music – soft rock accompanied by synthesizer that is rooted in new wave – that if you listen to it for too long, you just fall asleep after 20 minutes. LOL.

It’s not my type of music, that’s for sure. But it’s not a bad album. I had some kind of weird, subversive pleasure of listening to it. I’m sure those who are fans of the current British rock scene will love it.

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