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 also completed a national tour as an opener. And capping off a a busy period, 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 fit Fear of Flying. “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 ended 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 back in October 2007, the members of the newly named White Lies delayed their first live shows for five months — with the hopes of building up buzz for the project. And as the story goes, a few days after their live debut as White Lies, 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 — and album single “Getting Even” landed at #1 on the Polish singles charts.
The British trio’s fifth album, 2019’s aptly titled FIVE continued a run of commercially and critically successful material, which saw the band balancing an arena rock friendly sound 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 feels uncomfortably familiar.
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]. Recorded over two breakneck studio sessions, As I Try Not To Fall Apart reportedly features the JOVM mainstays’ most expansive material to date with the songs possessing elements of arena rock, electro pop, prog rock and funky grooves while still maintaining their penchant for crafting infectious hooks.
Earlier this year, I wrote about album title track “As I Try Not To Fall Apart.” Centered around glistening synths , big boom bap-like drumming, McVeigh’s plaintive and expressive baritone, a hypnotic, motorik groove, bursts of twinkling keys and their unerring knack for crafting enormous and infectious hooks, “As I Try Not To Fall Apart’ is a psychologically precise character study of a desperate man, who feels hopelessly stuck in as socially prescribed gender role while also trying to express his own 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.”
As I Try Not To Fall Apart‘s second and latest single “I Don’t Want To Go To Mars” is an arena rock friendly anthem, full of the swaggering bombast and enormous hooks that the JOVM mainstays have long specialized in –but while being arguably one of the more mosh pit friendly rippers they’ve released in some time.
“‘I Don’t Want To Go To Mars’ has all the distorted bombast of White Lies best anthems neatly packed into a short story. The song follows a character seemingly being herded off Earth to live out a sterile and mundane existence on a newly colonised Mars,” the members of the British JOVM mainstays explain. “Fundamentally the song questions the speed at which we are developing the world(s) we inhabit, and what cost it takes on our wellbeing.”
The accompanying video was created by the band and features archival footage of space race-era technology, science experiments, people traveling to amusement parks and the like paired with footage shot on an iPhone. White Lies’ Jack Lawrence-Brown says “Although the song wasn’t due an official video, we felt the strong imagery of the lyrics really leant itself towards a visual accompaniment. Using old archive footage, an iPhone, and our very own DIY spirit, we have pieced together a visual narrative to run alongside the song. A full force rebuttal of a concept that’s stalked people around the world for generations now; that the grass will be greener on the other side — of the galaxy.”