Acclaimed London-based post-punk act and JOVM mainstays White Lies — Harry McVeigh (vocals. guitar), Charles Cave (bass, vocals) and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums) — can trace their origins to a band that they started while they were all in high school called Fear of Flying. Although the band’s Charles Cave has publicly described Fear of Flying as a “weekend project” and one of many bands that each of the individual members were involved in at the time, Fear of Flying managed to release two Stephen Street-produced double A-side singles released through Young and Lost Club Records.
Building upon the initial buzz surrounding them, Fear of Flying earned opening slots for The Maccabees, Jamie T, and Laura Marling. They completed a national tour as an opener, and they played the inaugural Underage Festival.
Two weeks before the trio were to start college, they decided that they would take a second gap year to write and perform new material, which coincidentally they felt didn’t quite suite their current project. “I felt as though i couldn’t write about anything personal, so I would make up semi-comical stories that weren’t really important to anyone, not even me,” Charles Cave reflected on that period. Fear of Flying broke up in 2007 with a MySpace status that read “Fear of Flying is DEAD . . . White Lies is alive!,” before introducing a new name that the trio felt better represented their newfound maturity — and a much darker sound.
Officially forming in October 2007, the members of the then-newly formed White Lies delayed their first live shows for five months to build up media hype. And as the story goes, a few days after their live debut, the band signed with Fiction Records, who released the band’s first two singles — “Unfinished Business” and “Death,” which quickly drew comparisons to Joy Division, Editors, The Killers and Interpol. As a result of the buzz that their first two official singles earned, the London-based JOVM mainstays toured across the UK and North America, including a headlining BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend Festival set, a slot on 2009’s NME Awards tour, and number of appearances across the international festival circuit.
2009 saw the release of the act’s breakthrough, full-length debut To Lose My Life, which was released on the heels of being prominently featured in multiple “ones to watch” polls for that year, including BBC’s Sound of 2009 poll and the BRIT Critics’ Choice Award. To Lose My life earned the trio the distinction of being their first #1 album on the British Charts, and the first album by a British act that year to debut at #1.
White Lies third album, 2013’s Ed Bueller-produced Big TV was a critical and commercial success with the album debuting at #4 on the UK charts. The album’s material was centered around a narrative structure that followed a romantic couple, who leave a provincial area for a big city. Thematically, the material focused on equality and equity within a relationship. Interestingly, album single “Getting Even” landed at #1 on the Polish Singles charts.
The band’s fifth album, 2019’s aptly titled FIVE continued a run of material that found the band deftly balancing an ambitious arena rock friendly sound with enormous hooks and swaggering bombast with intimate and confessional, singer/songwriter pop lyrics. Album singles like “Time to Give,” “Tokyo” “Jo” and “Believe It” describe relationships on the brink of collapse and/or suffering through one of both parties’ dysfunction while rooted in the uncertainty, confusion, heartache and bitterness that romantic relationships often engender. And it all comes from a very lived-in, real place that should familiar to most, if not all of us.
FIVE also continued a remarkable and enviable run of commercially and critically successful material, with the album landing on UK Charts’ Top 15. The band supported the album with an extensive bit of touring that included a headlining stop at Irving Plaza. The London-based JOVM mainstay capped off a big 2019 with standalone single, the Andrew Wells-produced “Hurt My Heart,” which was recorded during a hiatus from touring.
White Lies’ highly anticipated sixth album, the Ed Bueller and Claudius Mittendorfer co-produced As I Try Not To Fall Apart is slated for a February 18, 2022 release through [PIAS]. Along with the album announcement, the trio and their long-time label home released the album’s latest single, album title track “As I Try Not To Fall Apart.” Featuring glistening synth arpeggios, thunderous boom bap-like drumming, McVeigh’s plaintive vocals, a hypnotic motorik-like groove, bursts of twinkling keys and their unerring knack for crafting an enormous hook “”As I Try Not To Fall Apart” is a psychologically precise character study of a desperate man, who feels stuck in a prescribed gender role while trying to accept and be comfortable with his vulnerability and weakness.
“We wrote this song quickly, late one night, and often the songs which come quickest are written from the gut and the heart, not with the head,” the members of White Lies explain. “We wanted the melody to feel like a hymn, to give the confessional lyrics weight despite being wrapped up as a pop song. It’s about accepting vulnerability as a man, and knowing it’s ok to be broken. There’s never been a more pressing time to spread the message that it’s ok to not be ok.”
Directed by James Arden, a.k.a. The Trash Factory, the recently released video features the band’s frontman Harry McVeigh broodingly sitting on an ornate chair in a room with couple of inches of sand. As McVeigh sings the song, more sand is dumped on him.
“The track made me think of people trying to lift themselves out of emotional spirals – navigating feelings of fragility and fighting everyday pressures just so they can keep it together – and it made me think about how we can be buried and overwhelmed by our feelings and emotions, and how we could explore that, visually,” James Arden explains in press notes.
White Lies’ Harry McVeigh adds, “Being buried in sand was too mad to pass up. The sensation was really chilling and I was picking sand out of my ears for days, but I’m thrilled with the video, it really carries the message of the song and it looks beautiful.”