The magic of a great novel lies in its ability to draw the reader completely in to its created world. Often, this can be to the point where it feels like a life lived within your own; only one that exists at a much different speed. Sometimes music has this ability too. An ability to not only soundtrack your own images but to create fictional ones and transport you to the heart of them. Big TV, the third studio album from the London-based three-headed band WHITE LIES, does exactly that. Through the courage of its own convictions and the sheer strength of the songwriting, simply listening to it is to immerse yourself within its creations.
Big TV is a beautifully crafted narrative about a young relationship where a young woman seeks her luck in the great wide world and all the struggles that come along with it in her relationship. The title-track starts the journey – and its effect is just as magnetic. The build from a minimal meander to a rich and evocative finale is perfectly executed. You can detect Harry McVeigh’s voice melting, as hauntingly melancholic as ever, around rough guitar riffs and some trademark 80’s synthie sounds. It’s a trick that’s repeated even more impressively on Getting Even; a track that leaps from an almost minimalistic opening to a full-blown crescendo of crashing percussion, swirling guitars and McVeigh’s enrapturing croon.
Change, however, stands out because it intoxicates with a fist load of emotions. To just breathe heavily during its five-minutes is to feel like you are intruding on some conversation you were never meant to be a part of. It runs on an intimate note and is one of the best examples of how WHITE LIES have merged acoustics and electronica. As the heavy piano trickles onward, odd analog sounds creep all around – bubbling underneath, sparkling above, whizzing alongside, wobbling behind.
Of course, Big TV is not merely a closed-door affair. Oh, no. It can be buoyant, too. Dig the piercing groove of the single There Goes Our Love Again, which gives way to a warm and instantly memorable chorus. Not to forget Space I and Space II the interludes, that break off the heavy gloom that pervades trough the longplayer and give you a moment to take a deep breath and shake the load off. Let’s be honest – as much as we love WHITE LIES, who can say it isn’t heavy to listen to a session of their anthemic and melodramatic rock?
In lesser-hands things could quite easily have gone awry, but here the result is just mesmerizing in it’s scope. That fine line between a measured approach and outright bombast runs through the whole record and makes it such an engrossing adventure. There are (if only a few) moments of joy and of wistful abandonment and there are also moments of real trepidation, when things come very close to falling apart. However, by the time you reach the graceful moment of clarity found in its conclusion – in this case the somewhat mesmerizing four-minutes closing track Goldmine – you’ll feel only that it was a journey worth taking.