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Ritual (Amazon Exclusive Version)
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Audio CD, January 18, 2011
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2011 sophomore album from the British Alt-Rock outfit. Produced by Alan Moulder, Ritual is the perfect epic and roaring follow up taking us on a sonic journey through dancefloor beats meets raging guitars and everything in between, fused together perfectly, and all at an incredibly melodic breakneck speed. Ritual teems with distorted anthems for the modern age. British critics have given White Lies accolades as successors to the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, Depeche Mode, The Psychedelic Furs and Magazine and have called lyricist Charles Cave a 'classic doom-rock dreamweaver, Nick Cave meeting Edgar Allen Poe'.
Top customer reviews
There is a lot of heart/soul/the-feels in this album if you take the time to listen to it. At the same time, this is a rock group that can stand up to criticism. If you compare some of the technical elements to modern rock groups you'll see that they are using a lot of good techniques (to the layman 'they play well together!') plus they use advanced techniques, some of which I really like in bands like RUSH and Led Zeppelin.
Let me put it to you this way, I'm sending all their albums to my Pops who is 69 this year. He's a big "Rock and Roll" guy with an open mind for new music that might be as good as what he's already heard. Looking for a gift for a certain music enthusiast? Here ya go.
Old review below. I'm such a judgemental fool.
Allow me to preface by saying that my all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode. Stranded on a deserted island with only one band to listen to. Depeche Mode.
White Lies is a really young band. Ritual is too much of a departure from To Lose My Life. When Depeche Mode brought "real instruments" into their music, it was difficult to swallow, but excusable because they had taken their dark electronic sound, after working on it literally for decades, very far (they were still Depeche Mode - but different). Was White Lies left alone to develop naturally or influenced by big time expensive producers with a "vision?" Did they see three extremely talented kids (really, 22 year olds are quite maleable) and have dollar signs in their eyes? I find it hard to believe that White Lies got to Ritual from To Lose My Life without major outside influences. With that being said, I do like Ritual. I just love To Lose My Life so much, that I'm finding Ritual too different. It just isn't a logical next step. What makes To Lose My Life so great is the underlying sophistication encased in a grimy outer layer. Ritual lacks this grit. With all that being said, I am enjoying many tracks on Ritual: Turn the Bells, Come Down - like listening to a new DM single for the first time.
This is the band exploring some new textures while operating within the confines of the sound of their debut. It's slightly darker, more melancholic than their debut, but equal in strength of melodies and hooks. I like the video for first single "Bigger Than Us" with its E.T.: The Extraterrestrial references, and the song is pretty good too. It's a good choice for first single. The other potential singles here are "Peace & Quiet", "Streetlights", "Holy Ghost" and "The Power & The Glory" with "Come Down" rounding out my list of top tracks.
Album opener, "Is Love" followed by "Strangers" are fine, but they somehow lack the punch of the above mentioned songs. By far, my least favorite tracks are "Bad Love" and "Turn The Bells". They just kind of sit there, taking up space. Still, that's six really good tracks, plus two decent ones, so that's eight fine tracks, and the two weak tracks do not pull the album down much. Four stars, just like their debut.
Now, let's get to some interesting bits here. The band keeps insisting that they are really influenced by Talking Heads, and not by who they directly sound like: Joy Division and Julian Cope. They say they are not really familiar with Joy Division or Julian Cope, yet I can not help but think of Joy Division when I listen to White Lies. Of course White Lies are direct descendants of the post-punk, new wave, new romanticist movement of the late 1970's and early 1980's (one of my favorite eras of music). I might also add that I hear touches of Rush, Human League, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Duran Duran, Thompson Twins, The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, The Church, Inxs and Big Country thrown about for good measure, and mind you, I like them all.
What will be interesting to see is whether the band breaks out of their comfort zone like all the bands mentioned above, and whether they push themselves artistically to expand and experiment with their sound. Otherwise, they might as well quit while they're ahead here.
So, "Ritual" is four stars, not five, good, but not great (not classic). If you like new wave, post-punk, nu wave, neo-punk this is highly recommended.