On their second album, Ritual, White Lies explore the darker, more ethereal side of the post-punk revival. Murky and brooding, the album finds the bandmembers developing as songwriters and being rewarded with a deeper sound for their troubles. Stepping out of the shadow of the likes of Interpol and Editors, Ritual captures a sound that’s both ethereal and tense, setting the listener adrift in an ominous sea of synthesizers and brooding vocals. A welcome surprise in all of this comes by way of White Lies' ability to break up the gloom with the occasional soaring moment. Songs like “Strangers” and “Holy Ghost” have almost rhapsodic moments, creating little points of light that guide the listener through the melancholic darkness. This blending of tension and triumph comes together splendidly on “Bad Love,” a song that slowly builds, adding layer after layer until finally exploding into a huge chorus that ties the whole song together beautifully with a mix of triumphant vocals and guttural guitars. These moments add a beautifully dynamic element to Ritual and show that in order to really explore the darkness, you need to have light.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney