White Lies – 'Big TV' album review

Album number three, and the Ealing trio are still utterly failing to fulfil their early promise

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>1/5


Poor White Lies: they keep giving their music to the world, and the world smiles politely and puts it swiftly aside. It’s a shame, because they promised so much with the urgency of singles ‘Death’ and ‘To Lose My Life’, whose beat-driven synth-rock sent their debut LP to Number One. But after that the Ealing trio gave up and churned out more of the same at a meandering pace, and everyone lost interest.

Unfortunately, they’ve chosen exactly the same formula for ‘Big TV’, and the results are more disheartening than a punctured bicycle on a desolate hillside. This time around, White Lies attempt epic soundscapes – but the shimmering chimes, barely-there piano and buzzing reverb on ‘Change’ aren’t enough to fill a suitcase, let alone a stadium. That song does enlighten us as to the band’s monotony, however: ‘I’ve never been too good at change’, pines vocalist Harry McVeigh. No kidding.

‘Be Your Man’ allows a brief glimpse into White Lies’ past, with its disco high-hat and purring riffs, but it’s not enough. There’s so much drab filler on ‘Big TV’ that you end up discarding each track like an unwanted present, and optimistically awaiting the next. Here's our tip: nothing thrilling is coming, so don’t bother getting started.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

Watch White Lies' 'There Goes Our Love Again' video

See White Lies live in London

People, Places and Things

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Transfers to the Wyndham's Theatre for a limited 12 week West End run from 15th March. The set is white-tiled, Dettol-clean – a urinal or two would not look out of place there – but instead what we are greeted with is Chekhov. The woman on stage is playing Nina from ‘The Seagull’, yet quickly she begins to flail and plummet. As she teeters on collapse, the actor playing the love-lorn Treplev cries out her real name ‘Emma’ in alarm. Suddenly the scene disintegrates, the lights flash, and the music pumps, and Emma is whisked into the middle of a manic clubbing scene, dancing and flailing like a puppet out of control. Duncan Macmillan’s incisive, fascinating play is overtly about a young woman who arrives in rehab because of multiple substance abuse that has led to blackouts and one suicide attempt. The self-destructive spiral of abuse has fuelled infinite plays and films, yet 'People, Places and Things' is disinguished by its central question about what any of us chooses to find real, and how that choice either benefits or destroys those around us. Denise Gough is quite extraordinary as the central character, ‘Emma’ (her real name is constantly questioned) a spiky, intellectually-restless thirty-something, who disguises her compulsive lying with a forcible charisma. Interviewed by Barbara Marten’s needle-sharp doctor, her words blaze against the clinical dullness as she describes the raging chaos of the world around her and the ‘moral ambivalence you have to have just to get

  1. Wyndham's Theatre Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DA
  2. Tue Mar 15 - Sat Jun 4
Buy tickets
See all White Lies gigs


See White Lies live in London

People, Places and Things

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Transfers to the Wyndham's Theatre for a limited 12 week West End run from 15th March. The set is white-tiled, Dettol-clean – a urinal or two

  1. Wyndham's Theatre Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DA
  2. Tue Mar 15 - Sat Jun 4
Buy tickets

Listen to 'Big TV' on Spotify

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