Clash (magazine) - "FRIENDS, their fourth record, continues their almost perverse obsession with crisp, vibrant synth pop and gnarly post-punk....There's a remarkable level of consistency."
Since their debut, 2009's impressive To Lose My Life..., Britain's White Lies have stayed remarkably true to their crisply delivered brand of brooding, emotive post-punk. Centered on the yearning croon of lead singer/guitarist Harry McVeigh, White Lies also feature bassist Charles Cave and drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown. Together, they craft an undeniably attractive sound that matches hooky choruses and poetic lyrics with a moody, bass-heavy sound that owes a large debt to '80s icons like Joy Division and The Teardrop Explodes. Subsequent albums, like 2013's Big TV, found them fleshing out their arrangements with shimmering orchestral synths and electronic flourishes. With their fourth studio album, 2016's Friends, the band continues to hew closely to its gray-scale aesthetics, albeit with a nuanced sophistication and brighter melodic palette that sounds like something you'd encounter on college rock radio in the early '80s. Largely self-produced, Friends sounds a lot like the band's past work, full of propulsive Peter Hook-influenced basslines, edgy, kinetic electric guitars, driving beats, and synthesizers that frame McVeigh's burnished baritone hue in a halo of neon sparkle. Cuts like "Take It Out on Me," "Morning in LA," and the Richard Wilkinson-produced "Come On" are soaring anthems that balance gothy gravitas with an uplifting, romantic pop euphoria. Similarly, tracks like "Hold Back Your Love" and "Is My Love Enough?" bring to mind something along the lines of a Scott Walker album as produced by Giorgio Moroder. Ultimately, Friends is a focused, clear-eyed album that finds White Lies trading some of the sprawling ambition of Big TV for the infectious pop urgency of their debut. ~ Matt Collar