After storming the UK charts with their bombastic debut album 'To Lose My Life' in 2009, White Lies are back with an enthusiasm for electronics adding a new layer to their anthemic rock. Boasting a consistent sound with incredible stadium potential, individually these songs fail to pack such a formidable punch.
Always in thrall to strong 80s influences, a few less guitars, a few more keyboards and a lot more electronics merely compounds the nostalgic aspect of White Lies' character, albeit an inch closer to the new wave leanings of Duran Duran or The Human League while still emanating the gloom-ridden rock of The Cure or Joy Division. It makes little difference to the West London trio's overall sound, however. Harry McVeigh's deep, dominating vocals are still the defining feature here, and one of the main reasons White Lies are endlessly compared with the aforementioned iconic bands. That's no great criticism, mind you, his smooth, solid tones are highly pleasing to the ear.
If only most of these tunes didn't straddle the five minute mark, they could behave been belters. As it stands, many of them spend too long circling and repeating, and struggle to maintain your interest. Still, there's a euphoric sensation in the upbeat indie-dance of 'Holy Ghost', a catchy stomp that makes 'Strangers' oddly reminiscent of The Killers and, and a toe tapping beat driving 'The Power & The Glory' to create some of the best fun we've heard from White Lies yet. But even the more downbeat mood and laidback pacing of 'Peace and Quiet' offer little variation from the overall feeling of 'Ritual'. So though there's plenty to like about White Lies second album, not one song here has the immediacy or verve of singles like 'Farewell to the Fairground' or 'Death'.