The White Lies’ album To Lose My Life was one of my favourites of 2009, so the follow-up — Ritual — was much anticipated.
It’s been taking a while to grow on me; I keep zoning off, hearing reflections of the breakthrough To Lose My Life. And then suddenly, pow!, the track ‘Peace and Quiet’ pounced on my ears and tore all the way to the heart. Which is why I love music. Even the most played album, or song, can take on new shades as the years go by and life lends new perspectives.
The White Lies have pushed on a little from To Lose My Life, bringing in some synths and adding a touch of harmony. Ritual is perhaps a more subtle, mature album.
Noirish imagery and striking turns of phrase abound. The overarching mood tends towards the fatalistic: lost love and a broken planet and a society riven by loneliness. Opener ‘Is Love’ sets the scene with its cynical treatise; the album closer, ‘Come Down’, suggests the brightest moment casts the longest shadow.
Ritual might not have the instantly catchy anthems such as ‘Farewell to the Fairground’ and ‘Death’ To Lose My Life, but it does reward repeated listening. I’ll keep delving, waiting for the next little piece of emotional lightning to strike.