Sunday, October 11, 2015

White Lies - Death

White Lies are an indie rock band from London, United Kingdom. They are a three piece band that has to recruit two other guys when they perform live. If I were White Lies I would probably just include the extra two guys as part of the band, but what do I know?

White Lies gets compared to Joy Division, Interpol, The Editors, and The Killers a lot, and most critics assume this was where White Lies draw their inspiration, however those critics are completely incorrect, the members of White Lies drew their inspiration from somewhere else entirely, somewhere I have yet to find out, and they rather dislike being compared to the indie bands mentioned above. Whether White Lies appreciate it or not, being compared to those four mentioned bands is a big compliment, I listen to all four of those bands all the time.

Evidently, I listen to a lot of indie rock.

In 2009 White Lies released their first studio album “To Lose My Life” and the first track on this album is “Death.” The entire album “To Lose My Life” is a great first effort by White Lies and their follow up albums are equally impressive but it is the song “Death” that has struck the deepest cord with me.

“Death” opens with a nice long rift, and then the rhythm section takes over and we are treated to a great beat. After the first few sections the drums erupt with much heavier impact and the lead guitar joins the rhythm guitar. Then we mellow for a bit while the chorus sings. Every instrument introduces itself with sudden impact and then joins the others seamlessly thereafter. By the third verse “Death” almost sounds like a completely different song and every instrument with perhaps the exception of the bass has, and is, increasing in intensity. When the chorus returns it is no longer relaxed but instead full of energy and the tempo is set for the rest of song until the sound of everything explodes into an amazing climatic conclusion and after lead singer Harry McVeigh declares “everything’s gotta be love or death,” and finally the chorus repeats, “Yes, this fear’s got a hold on me.”

The lyrics are an interesting mix of romantic and dark, nothing new to me, I own every HIM album, and I love stuff like this, I mean come on, “everything’s gotta be love or death,” that is about as intense as a love song can get. I know one of the reasons the member of White Lies do not like being compared to Joy Division or the other mentioned indie bands is that they do not like the idea of their content being considered as gloomy as them, but let’s keep it real, the first song, on their first album, is a song about love and death, titled “Death,” White Lies has practically written a goth rock song here.

Speaking of goth rock, let us talk about vampires.

If you have seen Iranian vampire movie “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night,” then you have already heard White Lies “Death.” Yes there is an Iranian vampire movie, this exists; we do indeed live in a beautiful world. “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” is about a young vampire woman who preys on men who abuse women. It is a very artistic movie. It is shot in black and white and has many long shots. The film is very nearly a collection of music videos the way in which is uses it’s score to carry entire scenes and those scenes last the entire background song’s length. This makes for a film that feels very long but if you are into that sort of thing you will really enjoy “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.” Most of the songs in the soundtrack are Iranian rock songs, many of which were recorded throughout the seventies and eighties, and now I am aware an entire new genre of rock and roll to investigate, but the one outstanding exception is Great Britain’s White Lies “Death.”

The scene where “Death” is played is easily the best scene from the entire movie “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.” Our main character Arash is talked into taking drugs at a costume party where he is dressed as Dracula. Whilst attempting to walk home he ends up lost and confused when he meets the vampire. She takes him back to her place and this happens:

I like this scene a lot, and not just because it introduced me to White Lies and the song “Death.” I like the subtle tension that is taking place. The vampire preys upon men who abuse women, so when Arash, a young man who has worked as a criminal drug dealer, slowly approaches the girl it is uncertain what he is going to do. Will he attempt to take her? Then he doesn’t, he stands there dazed and confused. Then the tension reverses entirely, the vampire, who preys on men, will she kill him? She lifts his head up and looks upon his neck and then she does not slay him, instead they embrace gently. Two would be predators do not act hostile towards one another and they instead share an affectionate moment, and all this character growth and symbolism is presented without a single word being spoken.

White Lies may like to fancy themselves less dark and gloomy then their indie rock compatriots, and it is certainly true that even their more forwardly dark songs, like the direly titled “Death,” do have a strong silver lining, and a turnaround of joy and hope, they are clearly embracing and dancing the razor’s edge of sorrow. In the song “Death” there is a lot more positive affirmation made when describing the inferred relationship than anything negative, but nonetheless “this fear’s got a hold on me.” The most powerful emotion, is multiple emotions at once, and I believe a song like “Death” strikes with fear, love and sadness all at once, it is a potent potion to sooth our hearts.

Until next month keep on rocking in the free world.

- King of Braves

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