After garnering a significant amount of attention with their 2009 debut album To Lose My Life…, White Lies returns with their highly-anticipated follow-up, Ritual.
For those unfamiliar with the synth-heavy, alt-rock band, White Lies is what you get when you stick Editors, Depeche Mode, The Killers and Edgar Allan Poe in a room with two bottles of Southern Comfort and enough lube to fill the space.
In many ways, Ritual aims to replicate the success of its predecessor by sticking to the band’s established formula. Everything we’ve come to expect from the band is here, from Harry McVeigh’s deep, moaning vocals to the haunting, macabre lyrics comprising every track.
The result is an album that while solid, doesn’t demonstrate the extent of the band’s capabilities. In fact, any evidence of the band’s growth seems nonexistent in this second outing. Rather than building on the promise of their first album, White Lies chooses instead to replicate it — albeit with more anthem-like, guitar-heavy tracks. That isn’t to say that Ritual is bad, it just feels like more of the same.
Although their sound doesn’t mature, there’s some strong material to be found in Ritual. Standout tracks include “Bigger Than Us” (the album’s first single), “Holy Ghost,” “Bad Love” and “Peace & Quiet.”
As it stands, Ritual is a solid follow-up, delivering more of what their fans have come to expect, but it’s unlikely to win over the band’s critics. Put simply, this is not the album that’s going to take White Lies to the next level, but it’ll more than likely help them maintain their status as an up-and-coming alt-rock act.
As a band on the cusp of fame, White Lies could be guilty of far worse than emulating their blueprint for success, but one can’t help but feel they are capable of doing greater things.