White Lies are the glowering, glistening, moody, magnificent, cheekbones-of-granite, stone cold future of Rock…
As teenagers in what now seems a different life, they were a band called Fear Of Flying, lumped in with the underage Way Out West club scene. They’d known each other since they were babies in West London, playing together since bassist Charles Cave and drummer Jack Brown struck woodblock and triangle at a school play. Not so many years later, they formed a proper band at the age of fifteen with singer Harry McVeigh (Jack got his first drum kit literally a fortnight before the band formed).
Those years spent playing weeknight gigs to an excitable burgeoning fanbase and being driven home at midnight by their mams in time for assembly in the morning were all in aid of finding their musical feet. Starting with a jagged and jittery desire to make any music they could and influenced by each member’s vastly different musical taste, they gradually honed their style into a more atmospheric, grandiose beast. Then last October they found themselves writing an elegiac mood rock masterpiece by the name of ‘Unfinished Business’ inside fifteen minutes. Realising it was the first of their songs which was the work of master pop craftsmen rather than enthusiastic trainees, they decided on a fateful tube journey home from the studio that Fear Of Flying were dead; long live White Lies.
“We thought ‘This is veering towards something much better’.” says Charles. “And there came a point where we realised we had these new songs that sounded really different, so we decided to wipe the slate clean.”
White Lies were go. With their music blooming with darkness, maturity and density (‘Unfinished Business’ with its church organ synths, gigantic galloping gouts of guitar and mentions of having blood on your hands), singer Harry McVeigh resembled a preacher-man Julian Cope fronting a tuneful Interpol. Their transformation had to be total. Their image blackened to suit their new mood and their gigs began to rage with such devout intensity that some fans were literally driven to tears.
“We wanted our first show to look amazing, sound amazing, and it needed to be perfect,” Jack grins. “It was quite intense, we had friends who were on the verge of crying."
“It’s kinda religious,” Harry nods.
Does it feel like a bit of a cult?
Charles chuckles. “It is yeah”
Writer of the band’s striking lyrics, Charles is a fresh, invigorating and slightly deviant new storyteller entering an indie landscape full of mouthy Mancs and dole-ish dullards like a dark-eyed Nick Cave overdosing on James Herbert and Shakespeare’s tragedies. He is the creator of these dark, cinematic tales of murder, madness, revenge, loss and love from beyond the grave; as we speak he’s working on a piece concerning a girl who hates her parents so much that, to get their revenge on her, they include a clause in their will forcing her to have them stuffed and mounted in her front room so she has to look at them every day. And that’s one of the brighter tracks.
“‘Unfinished Business’ is a spectral tale of an argument between two lovers which goes wrong,” Charles explains. “And we have a song called ‘E.S.T’ which deals with the issues and morals of electric shock therapy.”
Certainly not the mundane subject matter that fixates many artists’ catalogue, yet the result is a brooding synth rock monolith of desolation, desperation and ultimate hope that combines with the like of the elegant orchestral pop gallop of ‘From The Stars’ and the unequivocally titled glory stomp that is ‘Death’ to create a monstrous new talent; a band of immaculate melody, poise and portent. A band, essentially, born to play in churches.
Charles laughs. “Definitely, that’s something we want to do, whether it’s at a weird outdoor space or at an old church.”
“It brings people into your world if you can find somewhere that matches your sound,” Harry nods. “Maybe we should think about playing on the side of a huge lake surrounded by mountains.”
And that new moniker?
“It sounds quite pure,” Jack muses, “but it also sounds tainted and has a dark undercurrent and so does our music.”
White Lies: you’ll either love them or you’re already dead.
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