wed 19/06/2024

White Lies, SWG3, Glasgow review - indie veterans get their groove on | reviews, news & interviews

White Lies, SWG3, Glasgow review - indie veterans get their groove on

White Lies, SWG3, Glasgow review - indie veterans get their groove on

The three piece have found fresh purpose with their newest album

White Lies in typically pensive moodCharles Cave

White Lies began their set as many bands would end it, with a familiar hit ringing out and an explosion of confetti over the crowd. Such a tactic made you wonder if the three-piece would peak too soon here, mirroring the band’s commercial fortunes over a now lengthy career. First came a chart-topping album, then a series of mostly well regarded follow-ups that have slipped down the charts each time. Thankfully, and at times, surprisingly, the opposite was true.

Although the commercial fervour of 2008’s debut "To Lose My Life" has long faded, the indie group have retained a dedicated following, and their enthusiasm was rewarded here, save perhaps, for the bloke who optimistically shouted out a request for Champagne Supernova shortly after the band arrived onstage and powered into “Farewell to the Fairground”. Britpop was not forthcoming, needless to say.

However there was an evidently poppier element running through the group’s set, and it flourished, from the early “Am I Really Going To Die” that presented a riff reminiscent of Prince’s “Kiss”, to the flexible, funky rhythm that pulsed throughout a terrific “Is My Love Enough”. If the band’s lyricism, and indeed song titles, remain wrapped in anxiety then their music is showing an admirable sentiment to dance those cares away.

Credit for that goes to drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown and bassist Charles Cave, with the latter’s work underpinning so many of the songs here. Their best material often used his bass to lead, whether by offering a groove to get lost in or providing something more menacing, such as the propulsive “There Is No Cure For It”, an intense blast of a tune that finally suggested all those early Joy Division comparisons have, at last, come true, and making fine use of vocalist Harry McVeigh’s commanding voice.

That track came from their newest release “As I Try Not To Fall Apart”, a pandemic era record with a name suitably relevant for these times. Yet the title track itself, delivered in the encore, was more spry, an eager slice of synth-pop, and the terrific “Blue Drift” had a swagger and groove to it that indicated a band prospering the more they loosen up, aided by multi-coloured lights dancing across the screen behind the band.

Such playfulness was all the more evident next to a couple of the more generic anthems, all focused around McVeigh’s vocal. but paired with less thrilling tunes. The encore’s slightly stodgy, arms aloft finale of “Bigger Than Us” or the straightforward rock of “Tokyo” were serviceable, but felt like the sort of material the group can churn out with ease, as opposed to the fresher directions of their newest record.

That isn’t the worst problem for a band to have, however, and if anthemic songs remains the bread and butter of White Lies, then McVeigh plays the melodramatic messiah well, arms raised aloft and voice booming out to the increasingly sweaty Glasgow masses.

Thankfully, several of the old stalwarts held up well. “Unfinished Business” was rousing and deserved the fist-pumping it provoked across the audience, while the encore’s “Death” remains a marvellous example of brooding lyricism being turned into a triumphant cacophony of noise. If the dark is where White Lies are still most comfortable, then they’re now assured enough to throw some shapes while settled in there too. They’re all the better for that.

Their music is now showing an admirable sentiment to dance those cares away


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters