FM4 Indiekiste mit White Lies, Support: The Ramona Flowers
If White Lies don’t strike you as party types, prepare for a surprise. On their fourth album, Friends, the Londoners have loosened up, pursued their love of pop and even dipped in to disco.
White Lies haven’t so much abandoned their trademark synth-rock sound as given it a spring clean by having fun exploring new sounds. For many reasons, making Friends felt like a fresh start. After three albums – 2009’s chart-topping To Lose My Life… and its Top 5 follow-ups Ritual in 2011 and Big TV in 2013 – the trio was temporarily without a label after a bout of record company reorganisation. Rather than re-sign straight away, they decided to start Friends under their own steam, without the pressure of a deadline or a budget to blow.
“We’d been signed since we were 18,” says frontman Harry McVeigh. “We’re all 28 now. Not having a label was liberating. We could write what we wanted, pick our own studio and choose who to work with. We could use what we’d learnt along the way and if another label liked our new songs they could sign us. It was like making a debut album again.”
The first song that stuck was Morning In L.A., a glistening hip shaker with tongue-in-cheek lyrics about maintaining friendships across time zones.
“Straight away the melody suggested pop rather than rock so that’s the route we took,” says Charles. “It’s one of the catchiest songs we’ve ever written, but also a bit silly. Lyrically, it’s about someone looking at their watch in London, waiting for L.A. to wake up so they can have a conversation.”
Whatever sound each song suggested, White Lies went with it. Hence, when Hold Back Your Love and Is My Love Enough took the trio down the disco route they embraced it. When the beautiful ballad Don’t Fall jettisoned their signature sound entirely, leaving only McVeigh’s sumptuous, sonorous vocals to connect it to White Lies of old, they left it. Similarly, when the triumphant Summer Didn’t Change A Thing harked back to the arena-ready rock of their debut, they didn’t mind.
Glorious lead single Take It Out On Me was begun as a fun experiment by Charles to create a chorus using only numbers.
“Right up until we recorded the song it was called 89-1-3,” says White Lies’ lyricist. “It was inspired by a lunatic on Instagram who kept commenting on a friend’s photos in pseudo Biblical verse. From his profile I discovered he lived in a remote cabin with a rough-looking dog. He posted weird videos in which he quoted random numbers. As a challenge, I turned them in to a song. The only problem was that it went so well everyone said it should be the first single, so I relented and gave the chorus real lyrics.”
The changing nature of relationships is a recurring theme throughout Friends, a result of the trio nearing 30.
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