When the likes of Morrissey, Mark Ronson, Kaiser Chiefs and Nick Cave decide to gatecrash one of your gigs, you know you’re onto a good thing.
Just ask MGMT and The Courteeners. They’ve both recently been blessed by indie’s highest powers. So when both Mozza and Nick Cave crammed into the Camden Barfly to catch a glimpse of West London gloom rockers White Lies, the band couldn’t believe their eyes. “It was awesome when we heard Nick Cave was there because he is one of the coolest men ever,” gushes drummer Jack Brown. “We knew Morrissey was there but we didn’t know Nick Cave was there until afterwards. If we had known, I think we would have bricked it to be honest. Still, it obviously proved we must be doing something right if all those turned up.”
No one remembers the really great things that have happened to them for very long
But then anyone who’s heard the trio’s current cinematic single ‘Unfinished Business’ will know that this band, who are completed by singer Harry McVeigh and bassist Charles Cave, deserve to be heard. Opening with a death march organ, McVeigh’s aching vocals accompany soaring guitars, which sound like they’ve been plucked straight out of the post punk era. “This song in particular is about a guy who has a bust up with his girlfriend and he goes back to her house to try and sort it out but ends up finding out that he’s already dead and his girlfriend has killed him,” Jack reveals. “We are into writing songs in a dark way like that because the things you experience in life like death, are the things that change your life. No one remembers the really great things that have happened to them for very long. You tend to remember bad things more. If one bad thing happens to you it tends to affect you for the rest of the day.”
Gloomy huh? But then the best things in life are dark. You only have to listen to Interpol, Arcade Fire and of course Joy Division to realise that. And while comparisons have already been drawn with Editors, Tears For Fears and Echo And The Bunnymen, if anything White Lies lean closer to the latter. In fact McVeigh’s vocals sound uncannily like Ian McCulloch’s former scouse comrade Julian Cope from The Teardrop Explodes. “It’s strange when we started out and people heard our demos, a lot of them would say, ‘Oh you sound like The Teardrop Explodes’. Seriously though none of us had initially heard a single song by them. It’s great though because we’ve discovered a lot of bands we’ve been compared to since and we really like them especially Echo And The Bunnymen.”
The buzz is already beginning to swarm around White Lies after their recent UK jaunt with Crystal Castles and Friendly Fires. But Jack insists the trio are taking it all in their stride. “Although there has been a buzz about us, a lot of people probably haven’t heard our music or experienced us live yet,” he says. “If they’re interested when they haven’t seen anything yet, it’s got to be a good thing because we’ve still got a lot to offer. If anything we want the buzz to build rather than die down.”
If they’re interested when they haven’t seen anything yet, it’s got to be a good thing
By Damian Jones