White Lies' 2009 debut hit Number One in England, but that doesn't seem to have done much for their mood. On its second album, the group remains as bleak as a London winter, with Harry McVeigh conjuring Smiths-style melancholy in his weighty baritone. What evades White Lies is the candid charm of his Brit-gloom forebears. The sleek synth tunes are more anthemic this time out, but the lyrics are no less overwrought: "Is Love" finds a woman "scarlet as a paper cut and jeweled as the Orion" and a man "bloodshot as a baby and sulking like a valley." And when McVeigh beats you over the head with his bummed wail on "Bigger Than Us," you'll want to slip him some Wellbutrin.
From The Archives Issue 1123: February 3, 2011