Album Review White Lies - As I Try Not To Fall Apart3-5 Stars
Progress, after a while spent spinning their wheels.
White Lies’ tenth anniversary tour for debut ‘To Lose My Life…’, in late 2019 may have represented a reckoning for the band. On release in 2009, that record went to Number One in the UK, ultimately going gold; after a quick-fire 2011 follow-up, ‘Ritual’, underwhelmed, it feels as if the band has trucked along steadily, staunchly indebted to their influences and still steadily firing out soaring choruses, but never hitting the heights of their first album, either. While it’s hard to imagine the trio ever undergoing a wholesale reinvention, this sixth LP feels like the most vigorous reshuffling of their pack to date. By opening with a song agonising over mortality, ‘As I Try Not to Fall Apart’ directly references ‘To Lose My Life…’, but where ‘Death’ was a brooding anthem, ‘Am I Really Going to Die’ is remarkably poppy, recalling Franz Ferdinand with its funk-inflected guitar. While there’s a throughline with some of their more recent output - the nods to synth-pop remain myriad, especially on the title track - there’s room, too, for new territory, both lyrically - ‘I Don’t Want to Go to Mars’, a rebuke to Bezos, Branson and Musk, is unusually political - and sonically, as on the groove-driven ‘Blue Drift’ and atmospheric slow burn of ‘The End’. ‘As I Try Not to Fall Apart’ is a subtle evolution for White Lies - progress, after a while spent spinning their wheels.
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