Ritual is the White Lies surprisingly brilliant follow-up to 2009’s To Lose My Life … With such high expectations in England and abroad, it’s not uncommon for one of the most hyped bands around to release a sophomore dud. However, there’s not a skippable track on the record. We gave their first album an average initial review, but it eventually made our list favorite albums in 2009. Ritual resonated immediately. In the same vein as the album that preceded it, White Lies have written ten songs that are in a word “epic” … as though they were meant to become arena anthems alongside U2 (circa 1980s). Bassist and primary songwriter Charles Cave is still writing all the lyrics for Harry McVeigh to belt out using his best Ian Curtis impersonation. McVeigh denies their music sounds like Joy Division, but the voice is eerily similar.
White Lies haven’t changed their doom and gloom formula but do explore some new territory on the record. On standout track “The Power and The Glory,” the band infuses electronic drum and bass with one of the more infectious choruses on the album. With lines like, “Hold tight for heartbreak, buckle up for loneliness, right time to get away, where I’m going I couldn’t care,” from “Streetlights,” Cave is keeping things bleak, setting up for more hopeful choruses that pay off for those who can stand in the desolate mud for that long. Ritual is not for everyone, and there has been some major critical lashing out toward the album. Why all hate? Ritual will be on our favorite albums of 2011 list at year’s end.
Check out a short film made for the album and featuring four songs below: