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WHITE LIES / ALEX CAMERON | LIVE REVIEW

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white lies press photoWHITE LIES / ALEX CAMERON | LIVE REVIEW

4stars

 

Y Plas, Cardiff University Students Union, Mon 27 Feb

As part of a cohort of post-punk revivalists from the late 00s, White Lies have continued in the intervening years to deploy with melancholic, equally kinetic anthems that would safely sate fans of 80s gloom-merchants Echo & The Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes. With firm mainstream appeal, akin to that of Editors and Interpol, the three-piece outfit reach beyond the twentysomething bracket, as evident in the broad age mix in attendance at Y Plas.

Sydney’s Alex Cameron kick-started with The Comeback, a warped, resignedly cynical track from recently re-released debut album Jumping The Shark, which showcases his adeptness at subverting lyrical yarns of washed-up lives with a sleekly tempered bubblegum sheen. This sardonic zeal translates to his performance, with the Australian singer-songwriter gesturing and leaning towards the crowd with the physical dexterity of a contortionist, sauntering and gyrating across the stage, with the mic gripped tightly, serenading like a life coach preaching intently to his followers. The off-beat lounge room crooner is supported by the talent of saxophonist Roy Molloy, dubbed “business partner” by Cameron, who brings further polish to proceedings, negotiating through ironically cathartic yet spritely electronic soundscapes, with the enthusiasm of the audience in tow.

White Lies placate the feverish ambience of the room with Take It Out On Me, a sparkly slice of synthpop from their latest album Friends. Channelling the oft-imitated detached drawl of Ian Curtis, Harry McVeigh’s droning vocals cut through reverb-drenched synth and guitar to the crowd in festival-style fervour. The London trio’s formula of stadium-pleasing bombast moderated with a degree of morose indifference went down well in the ample, if not arena-scale, surroundings.

Interplay with the punters only serves to strengthen affection for the band, particularly in mentioning how great it is to be playing Wales again after some absence. Switching between technicolour and austere, the often strobe-specked theatrics reinforce the euphoric purpose of their output, particularly in a dutiful rendition of first album fan favourite To Lose My Life. A roll-through of breakout hit Death and an encore brought closure to a night, which proved spirited if a little predictable at times.

words CHRIS HAMILTON-PEACH

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