Release Date: January 18, 2011
Reviewed by Chris Johnston
In total brutal honesty, I can’t find a single thing likeable about this record. It’s very unfortunate, considering the first 30 seconds of the opening track, “Is Love” is kind of catchy. At first, I was hopeful. But fact of the matter is, New Wave is dead for a reason. It’s not one of those genres of music that can come up and then go away for a few years and then come back again and gain close to the same popularity as it once had. If you’re a band and you can incorporate a New Wave sound into your music, you might be able to come up with something good. Bands like Innerpartysystem do this seamlessly as if they were destined for it. But White Lies have apparently decided on just straight New Wave for their recent endeavor, “Rituals.” The vocal work is dull. It kind of sounds like a guy that takes himself way too seriously doing some older Morrissey songs at karaoke night, even though it’s pretty clear his effort is not to be taken seriously in the least.
As for the music, as I said before, it’s NEW WAVE. There’s nothing really modern or relevant to the sound at all. If this were 1985, I might be singing this record’s praises to the high heavens. But it’s 2011. And New Wave is not relevant right now. What blows my mind though, is this music has potential. If these guys sat down and said to each other, “Okay, we’ve got this great basement material, now how can we make it make sense?” they would probably churn out some tunes that would appeal to a wider audience than just the people stuck in the 80’s and the young hipsters who think they are or actually WANT to be stuck in the 80’s. But one listen to “Ritual” and you’ll be totally aware that the main drive of this project was to create something that’s already been done with a lack-luster mentality. Unless of course, you’re stuck in the 80’s. Then you’ll love it.