Ian Curtis is rolling over in his grave. Not because the latest album by White Lies is a rip-off of Joy Division but because if Curtis were alive today, this is the kind of music he would be making. Ritual is a throwback to a great era. It’s an homage. It’s the first must-have album of 2011. Forget all the comparisons to contemporaries like Interpol and Editors, Ritual raises the bar and sets them apart from all.
If Man Ray were still alive today, there would be a listening party for this album and all the Goths would hold hands and weep at the powerful emotion conveyed throughout. It’s Echo & The Bunnymen, it’s Joy Divison, it’s Tears for Fears. It’s a masterfully executed album that’s miles ahead of their debut.
“Is Love” starts things off as a slow builder and when it hits its’ peak, the momentum doesn’t stop until the last note of album closer “Come Down”. The lush outro to “Peace & Quiet” could’ve come off of Disintegration and The Cure influence rages on during “Streetlights” with a driving bass line that could’ve been played by Simon Gallup. Think Ian Curtis fronting The Cure with a chorus done by The Fixx’s Cy Curnin. That’s ‘Streetlights’. And it works. Well. Then there’s “The Power & The Glory” which sees singer/guitarist Harry McVeigh channeling Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears.
I can’t finish this without mentioning the anthemic lead single “Bigger Than Us”. Have you ever heard a song that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up or made you swell up with emotion for no reason at all? That’s “Bigger Than Us”. It’s a perfect intro piece to Ritual and the perfect representation of White Lies circa 2011.