October 10, 2016

#MusicMonday // Album Review: White Lies' Friends

Post-punk, London-hailing trio White Lies' new album, Friends, is so 80s it might as well have been the soundtrack for The Breakfast Club. Taking cues from icons like Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen (my note: I draw some Tears for Fears parallels, too), White Lies touched on this sound in songs from 2009's To Lose My Life..., such as the album's namesake, "To Lose My Life," and "The Price of Love," but the vibe came full circle in their fourth album, which dropped Friday. The album circles around a complicated relationship; lyrics suggest unresolved issues and conflicted emotions. Songs like "Don't Want to Feel It All" and "Is My Love Enough?" are begging to pull at your heartstrings. The album is shorter than the average, with only ten songs clocking in at under 45 minutes, but the length takes nothing away from what the record offers musically. 


Friends starts out on a very upbeat, high note with "Take It Out on Me," the album's first single, and "Morning in LA," which combines a guitar style popular on today's alternative scene with 80s-style synth and a anthemic refrain. "Hold Back Your Love"—the opening chords of which bring to mind Journey's "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)"— acts as the transition song in the album, with a slower, synthy start before the chorus picks up with a killer beat. Beginning with "Don't Want to Feel It All,"  White Lies tones it down a bit, moving into the mellower, middle-of-the-album tracks. Album standout "Summer Didn't Change a Thing" pairs steady verses with an unexpectedly heavy chorus and a message to match: "Summer didn't change a thing/It'll always hurt." "Come On," the second single off of the album, has that crowd-swaying-at-a-live-show kind of quality to it, with a catchy refrain following the perfect buildup. The album ends with a true 80s anthem, bass drum-heavy "Don't Fall."

Friends is a fresh take on today's alternative, with nods to arguably some of the best music to come out of the last few decades, and is easily a standout amongst recent releases. 

*Overtly subjective warning* This is, hands-down, the best new album that I've listened to in months. Friends is everything that I wanted White Lies to be, but I felt that they came just short of in much of their previous music. Out of five stars, I'd give it a perfect rating. Treat your ears, and give it a listen:

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