Live review of White Lies at The Leadmill in Sheffield on Friday September 26th 2008 with support from The Joy Formidable.
Last month, Contact spoke to White Lies prior to their performance at this year's Leeds Festival. What became apparent was that beneath the all-encompassing matching black façades and supremely focused approach were a band who seemed genuinely surprised at just how much attention they've found themselves receiving, particularly when their career is just one seven-inch single old. However, the heaving sweatbox of the Leadmill's backroom suggests that White Lies have an attentive audience in waiting.
Before that though, fellow London-based three piece The Joy Formidable are making a highly infectious racket of their own that briefly threatens to undermine their highly rated hosts. The ingredients of their sound are concocted from the obvious (Polly Jean Harvey, 'Doolittle', My Bloody Valentine-esque mounds of fuzzy delay) through to the less expected (Echobelly, The Boo Radleys circa 'Kaleidoscope') that makes them an enthralling prospect. Peroxide blonde front woman Ritzy is the focal point, mixing vocal duties with literally swinging round her guitar like an axe until virtually destroying it on the closing 'Austere'. The only thing they seem to lack at this moment in time is that one killer tune that will elevate them above a mere supporting role, but the signs are promising and you wouldn't bet against them having something dynamic and under three minutes up their sleeves before long.
For White Lies it must be as daunting as it is humbling to see so many faces pining for their every word. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine many people in the room actually knowing more than two of their songs at best before tonight, which makes their seemingly imminent promotion to the UK's indie Premier League even more astonishing.
The band themselves, already in celebratory mood having been confirmed as tour support for Glasvegas in December earlier today, seem a lot more relaxed and comfortable in such confined surroundings, especially after the aforementioned Leeds show where despite the obvious potential within much of their repertoire, there was a distinct feeling of rabbits being caught in headlights at times. Here though it's a different story, and although the likes of debut 45 'Unfinished Business' and closing 'Death' get the loudest response, it's the dizzying chorus of 'To Lose My Life' ("Let's grow old together/so we can die at the same time") and discordant Chameleons path-treading 'From The Stars' that really set Contact's pulse racing.
Not surprisingly, they've already been likened to Interpol and Editors, and while those reference points may be reasonably fair if a little lazy, a quick trawl through rock's back pages means the likes of The Cure, Puressence and the Psychedelic Furs should be highlighted too.
The only real cause for scepticism at present seems to be around the band's image; is it contrived or not? Only time will tell I guess, but at the moment White Lies are coping just fine in letting the songs do the talking themselves.