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Meet the young lads of WHITE LIES, UK’s indie ‘it’ band

by Jen McNeely
Their dark sound is being compared to Joy Division and you could say they are the British counterpart to NYC’s MGMT, in terms of undisputable young talent. Expect a flashback to the 90’s heroin hit Trainspotting upon hearing their Crystal Castles remix. I speak the truth when I tell you White Lies is poised for international success.

Made up of lead singer Harry McVeigh, bassist Charles Cave and keyboardist Jack Lawrence Brown, they ditched school a year ago to jam. “We decided to learn together rather than learn at home in our room with lessons – which sounded really boring to us. We left school, high school – we just decided we were really passionate about what we were doing and just decided to give it a go”, says Cave.

When the threesome isn’t making music or organizing ‘chess club’ party nights in London’s west end, than they are testing out the water from here to Iceland.

Prior to their Toronto debut at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, they hit up Niagara Falls for a splash and while in Iceland, a few weeks back, they made sure to dip into the minus zero geo thermal waters; very cool. I asked if they also went to all the kitschy pit stops in falls town (Haunted House, Fun House, Wax Museum), bassist Charles Cave looked at me strangely and somewhat perplexed responded:

”I don’t get where that comes from. It has nothing to do with the falls.”

Agreed, but it is fun to get spooked, eat greasy spaghetti and go shag in a vibrating bed with a mirrored ceiling.

The musicians admit that like everyone else they enjoy smutty reality TV and are currently fixated on RUN’s House, as in DMC. Far from jaded, they are enjoying every aspect of their new found career right now and although somewhat intimidated at a dream of touring with Blonde Redhead, they think they’d ‘get on’ real well with The Kings of Leon.

Sitting at a booth in the Rivoli at 11 AM, Cave was very engaging and spoke like the smart kid in your Grade twelve Society class whereas, shaggy haired Lawrence-Brown lay on the table like a messy shitzu having a nap. It was cute, and I wanted to tussle his hair and bring him some apple juice.

The band has only been playing a year and is already on an international tour. Lead singer, McVeigh, is being compared to the suicidal and iconic Ian Curtis. Heavy. How does that feel?

“It’s really flattering – especially with Joy Division – they are a really influential band. I think the public and fans have taken that band beyond just being a music group – they really put them way up – above other bands. We’d love to have that similar respect some day – but in terms of musical comparisons we really hadn’t listened to them when we started White Lies, so we started to buy CD’s and listen. It definitely hasn’t influenced our sound since listening to them – but it’s definitely a compliment”, Cave says with a smile.

When asked how they would describe their music, they reference a British journalist a while back who deemed White Lies as ‘cathedral pop’. It is certainly dark, emotional and epic. Their Crystal Castles remix is reminiscent of early nineties club music – think sweat, ecstasy, and sex in a parking lot.

Death Demo, on www.myspace.com/whitelies is the kind of song you put on when you are about to change life for the better – but you still have to run through a dark tunnel and scream before you find yourself on the other end. I can listen to it ten times in a row and can’t decide whether I want a stiff drink, to hold my breath in a bath, draw eyeliner all over my face, touch myself or call my shrink. No wonder there are parallels with Joy Division – although some music aficionados would scoff and get very angry at this comparison, likening them more to trend of the moment BLACK KIDS. We shall see – I’m rooting for them.