Photography: John Middleton /

White Lies

Eventim Olympia 7/2/19

Longevity in music really is a good thing. While the joy of discovery will always be a remarkable thrill, there is still excitement is taking a glance back over the shoulder. Reverence in memory is the warm glow that is just a lovely and snuggly feeling. The glow that accompanies thoughts attached to albums or shows that left an impression on you at some point in your past. There’s loads. We all possess these moments, these memories, these times. As life moves forward some of these vignettes fall to one side and we plough on, usually because something new has turned up. New is everything. Old is just, well, contrite when it’s about music. Don’t look back. Forward. Forward. Forward.

Nope. Go back 10 years and indie landfill corporates WHITE LIES released their debut album and it was magnificent. The shows were magnificent, even the remixes were good. Then there was the second album. It, too, was magnificent. The shows were also magnificent and these young lads from the posh bit of Ealing buzzed around the world to packed houses and an addicted fan base. Yet the press was never that convinced. Was it class based? Was it a timing issue? The band don’t know and don’t care. Six days after the release of their fifth album the three-piece are back in Liverpool, one of the cities on this massive European tour that has been very loyal to WL. They’ve played here on every tour. Twice the venues have been upgraded and once the venue was downgraded. Anybody in The Invisible Wind Factory last year would testify to it being a health hazard, you couldn’t breathe, let alone dance. A shame, then, that there’s a bit more space here tonight as WL are on absolutely stunning form. There’s no grand entrance, just a dimming of the lights and the not very rock ’n’ roll amble on stage. It seems the band do not decry expectation with age, just get on with it. As individuals they are wonderful human beings, no pretence, no attitude, just humbly great musicians with a real knack of evoking some acceptable 80s licks and burying them with such huge choruses that you don’t feel the need to visit the bar every three songs.

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There’s a small ruck of bands that define the White Lies discourse and those acts are currently doing the rounds. Tears For Fears were down in town the other day, Snow Patrol were visiting our Mancunian brethren earlier and the Bunnymen will forever live long in our hearts. The fact that these acts are mentioned in the same breath is testament to how revered WL are in here tonight. The crowd are absolutely loving it. There’s singing and shouting and shape-throwing that isn’t hysterical but, by gosh, it’s intense. As is the show. The band are tight as you like. Every song is a lesson in professional synth-driven arena rock. The old songs are a reminder of good times past. The new ones are greeted with such fervour that it feels like they’ve been around for six years, never mind six days. Time To Give especially gets the thumbs up for its instrumental break that brings to mind a more fluid Mr. X by Ultravox, another act that WL espouse. No more so than in the single Tokyo. While radio play was poor, the crowd are bouncing around to a chorus that Midge Ure may well have written for his new electronica side project.

The fact is that White Lies are tremendous, yet society doesn’t seem too sure. No idea why as all of the constituent parts are there. All lined up and all polished finely. The back catalogue is so pop and affecting some people’s attitude towards them is a crime. Go and Spotify the fuck out of them, then wonder why you didn’t bother earlier.

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