Single Review: White Lies – ‘Bigger Than Us’

Well if it isn’t the return of everyone’s happy-chappy trio, White Lies. Most well-known supposedly for their début #1 album, the optimistically titled ‘To Lose My Life…’ and their Top 40 hit’s, the cheery ‘Farewell To The Fairground’, and the title track from their début LP, as well as the Haribo-charged hilarity of none other than ‘Death’. Ho yes! If ever there’s any need for a smile and a warm reception, White Lies are the people to go to.

Err… hold on a moment… No, that’s not right.

Readying up for their second album’s worth of a chart assaults, White Lies have their typical sound on board – a very dark, pulsing, electro-rock vibe – with plenty of baffling lyricism relating to plenty of other things that aren’t that well-understood. And on top of that there’s Harry’s low vocal register warbling out those baffling lyrics. True White Lies style, then.

It’s quite a predicament I’m in with this release though, because as nice and as White Lies-y it is, which has never been an issue for me before, and the fact that there’s finally some meaty guitar rock about to break back into the popular mainstream, but if I’m brutally honest, this is one of White Lies’ weakest offerings of their career.

Usually their formula of dark electro-rock and dramatic choruses work wonders for me, especially with Harry’s distinctly gothic baritone, but ‘Bigger Than Us’ tires after the first chorus and fails to live up to the innovation and forward-thinking of their first album’s singles. Gone are the glacial synths, the enormous hooks, the very life appears to be sucked out of their music with this song; the lyrics – “You are tired, nothing’s changed” appear autobiographical.

Oh sure, there’s a huge, dramatic chorus as standard, setting a brooding soundscape but it just feels unfinished, or slightly lazy – there’s no real hook so it’s not memorable in the slightest. The saving grace is the typical White Lies crescendo middle eight, where everything goes and bit quiet then erupts back into the chorus. It’s then you realise that ‘Bigger Than Us’ comes across as nothing new or innovative in the slightest – just a copy of some of their older tricks but not quite as well executed.

The video is completely barmy.

See? Barmy.

I’ll admit, White Lies did surprise me with the success of their #1 début album, but it was a good surprise because they really deserved it due to the quality of it. But going by this song alone – which is everything you should do when presented with only one lead single – their new album won’t be able to cut the mustard. Thankfully though, ‘Bigger Than Us’ looks set for a Top 40 placing this coming Sunday, so with any luck, it’ll help pave the way for guitar music to grab a decent hold on the charts for 2011.

Rating: 3.0 STARS

Download: January 3, 2011 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Ritual’

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