Artist: White Lies
When they emerged in early 2009 with their debut album "To lose my life," it was easy to see where the three young men who make up White Lies had both their feet firmly fitted. Emerging in a surging swathe of Editors-esque moping and black suits and the influence of Depeche Mode's entire back catalague, with "To lose my life" they presented the British public with something dark and depressing, but easy to sink your teeth into. Throughout, the album reeked of ambition. These three young men were hungry, hungry for the euphoria of selling out stadiums and headlining festivals.
If their debut hinted at their ambition, then their second album "Ritual" seemingly aims to prove that they've got the tunes to finally do what they set out to do from the beginning. There is one major standout here, lead-off single "Bigger than us." It's the band's masterpiece, the most euphoric and heartfelt moment since their debut's title track. The chorus is simply to die for, and it's the kind of thing The Killers probably would have killed to write in their "Sam's town" era.
But "Bigger than us" is probably the only moment here that is accessible enough to even set a glimmer of hope of ever headlining Wembley. That's not to say there aren't other good moments here of course. Opener "Is Love" starts off with woozy synths and pounding drums before exploding into stuttering electronics and another of those uplifting choruses the band just about master. "Peace and Quiet" is less conventional with it's Klaxons-esque harmonising, whilst "Streetlights" sees the band return to the kind of lo-fi fledgling anthem that their debut burst with.
It's not all so promising though. "The Power and the glory" is a slick electro ballad that tries to be epic but only succeeds in being dour, and "Bad Love" is so far up it's own arsehole that you start to wonder if the band have got a bit ahead of themselves mentally.
If "Ritual" is the band's supposed coming of age then it's done it's job in impressive form. Amped up are the drums and the euphoria and the massive choruses. The emotion is all still there. The band seem to be on more steady ground and ready to head out into the world, their youthful innocence left behind for the fear of having to step out into the wilderness. However they aren't adults just yet. They're still pulling back too much to make you think they would last. Watch out though- it won't be long until they're very nearly there.