Review Summary: The astronaut didn’t cry when floating solitarily through the space, for he had the whole universe for himself and the others had only Earth. Forever.
When talking about Post-Punk revivalism, people usually only remember the endless Joy Division rip-offs and half-assed overly synthetic Darkwave pretend-depressed wimps. A supply of these kinds of artists was excessive and it was easy for people to start getting annoyed by them. But alongside that, there was also a whole other direction that was completely new to its time. A Stadium Post-Punk that started taking over UK around late 2000s and early 2010s. That strange, bloated, anthemic extravagance that took attributes typical for Post-Punk and exaggerated them to astronomical heights, mass conveyor belt production and simpler, more easily swayed audiences. It was a bold move, albeit unheard of in the genre's spectrum and in its core idea betraying all the careful sorrow Post-Punk was known for. For the most part I blame The Killers and Bloc Party's transition into more chart-friendly territory. I know, not exactly directly Post-Punk projects, but they were closely intertwined with other acts and their influences scanned across the board. Also, the sudden marginal success of the likes of Editors and Interpol opened an opportunity for revivalist bands to come forth into the new exciting world of possibility to sell out arenas with a genre previously known to be more chamberly and closed into itself.
But that is not to say that it had nothing to say at all. Ironically enough, some of the acts that popped up here and there (mostly in the UK, cause nobody else cared for it that much) usually stayed underground (think bands like The Slow Readers Club). White Lies were mostly balancing somewhere in the middle. Their debut was received rather well (financially that is). It was a lush, fun album with a lot of echoic production, but never falling into Shoegaze abyss. But after the failure of their follow-up Ritual in 2011, they mostly fell out of the critics' and public's eyes. But they returned with glory on Big TV, an album of absolute improvements unjustly overlooked.
Now, listening to it, your reaction will most likely be something like "This is in no way an acceptable Post-Punk album. This is a Pop-Rock with barely enough guts." And sure, it may be true. But for the style as obscure as it chose for itself, this album did remarkably well. Song after song, it is an impressive display of command of the melody and surprising instrumental surprises in the background. The driving bass, the poppy drums, deep vocals, atmospheric synths and the haunting background strings all create the proper atmosphere of triumph with bittersweet undertones. The tunes are beyond catchy and instantly memorable. They strike with grandiosity and enthral with power. Take the song „Getting Even“ that kicks off with the most slapping string section and creeps through with an engulfing melody. Or tracks like “Heaven Wait”, where the foggy atmosphere keeps building up until an explosion of heartbreak.
Besides the magnetic songs full of melodic greatness, there are also surprisingly spacy cuts that seem almost cosmic in their themes. The interlude songs like “Space I”, “space ii”, beautifully ambient “Change” or the aforementioned “Heaven Wait”. They as if bring a certain conceptual depth to the whole record. It’s a magnificent effort all throughout that can only be weighed down by your own personal misunderstanding, distaste for or dismissal of this entire style of arena-directed overly banally romantic tunes. But that is understandable. And I forgive you.
P.S.: I found out about the band, because my favourite modern artist Micahel Kagan contributed the cover art.