They say popular culture reflects the mood of a nation: in Britain, that mood is bleak indeed, with more than two million people unemployed and the well known high street brand names of our heritage collapsing on a staggeringly frequent basis. Last week the Labour government announced that there were nearly a million teenagers not in work, training, or education, a sizable minority of the nation's youth which - if the country's uber reactionary media is to be believed - spend their time fighting their parents, the police, and each other.
Two years ago, when the cotton was seemingly much higher, the fabric of Albion's independent (sic) music scene was almost entirely made up of post brit pop solipism - bands like The Pigeon Detectives sung lazily about booze and birds, on street aggro and hedonistic self fulfillment - and how we lapped it up. To see how times have changed, just take a gander at last year's new overnight sensations Glasvegas, a quartet styled as nu-scotia Roy Orbison-alikes who, according to the venerated sage Alan McGee, splice the Jesus & Mary Chain with The Ronettes. Led by the lyrically self flagellating James Allan, their eponymous debut album is littered with random violence, loss, and despair, including possibly the most original use of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" ever, it underpinning the self-explanatory poem "Stabbed".
White Lies are trio Jack Brown (drums), Charles Cave (bass) and Harry McVeigh (guitar, vocals) and they used to be called Fear of Flying, before undertaking a career makeover which would've made Ms.Ciccone green with envy. Who knows exactly what happened behind the velvet curtain, but gone was their name and generic by numbers jangle, swapped instead for pulsing retro synths and a less than healthy obsession with mortality and the afterlife. Signed after a handful of gigs to the Fiction label (Home, you could almost have guessed - to career goth classicists The Cure), they spent most of last year cementing their next big thing tag with a trio of cork-popping obsessed singles - variously entitled "Death", "To Lose My Life" and "Unfinished Business".
So, are White Lies out to convince our children to dress like vampires, kick over headstones, or paint the walls of their room entirely black? Well even if they were, we need to get a little perspective here. Feeling alienated by society as hairs sprout in places you never had them before is after all a birthright. To paraphrase the wonderful (And dead) comedian Bill Hicks, that teenage angst thing, it's a big dollar. And if precedent be needed, it's the kind of mock rebellion that helped turn My Chemical Romance into seriously rich, if very depressed, rock stars.