Jack Brown is used to having labels stuck to his band. In twelve short months, White Lies
— which Brown drums for — have been called many things, from the next big thing in indie rock, to slavish Joy Division impersonators and all ‘round miserable boys. And although White Lies can deal with the incessant hype-storm that’s been whipped up in the wake of their debut LP To Lose My Life
, it’s those last two that Brown doesn’t care for. “That’s something which we’ve heard of a lot in the last year, that our music is so bleak we must be the most depressed people in Britain, but it couldn’t be further from the truth,” Brown says. “I know that we’ve got a sound which is quite darker than a lot of other bands going around right now, but that itself is a reflection of us as a band and as people. We’ve grown up and these songs represent that maturity,” Brown says of the band’s debut disc. “Listen to the title track of the album, it’s about being so in love with someone that you stay with them until the very end of your lives, I mean, how romantic is that? I feel like there’s so much color and energy to what we do, that to compare us to a band like Joy Division is just absurd, because that was a band concerned with making music that was as bleak as possible. That isn’t us.”
Those who’ve laid such claims against White Lies are seemingly missing the point of To Lose My Life
. Yes, it’s a dark sound, and yes, it’s focused on narratives of lost love, betrayal, social and familial dysfunction, and of course death. But it’s really about passion. White Lies’ lyricist Charles Cave utilizes these emotive themes to compel both band and listener, and as a result, To Lose My Life
is an equally exhilarating and ambitious record. It’s also one that makes the band befitting of the other label mentioned earlier, the one about being the next big thing in indie rock.
“When people say something like that about you, you’ve got to step back from it all, otherwise it’ll effect you,” Brown admits. “We never wanted to play any games with the band’s hype. We avoided it. We spent over two months rehearsing before we played any shows, we did extended studio sessions for the album and we never released any information about ourselves or our music online. And it worked for us,” he explains. “If the press had started saying those kind of things about us before we finished the album, we never would’ve got anything done. We’re terrible at actually finishing things. That’s why we’ve only got like two B-Sides. We’re rarely satisfied with everything we do and that would’ve made it so much worse. Thankfully we weren’t under the immense pressure of the hype machine during recording. And when it finally caught up with us, our album was finished and ready to come out, so it didn’t get to our heads. We got really lucky,” he says before beaming widely. And so they should be. — Dave Ruby Howe