Kill Rock Stars
By: Eric Greenwood
The Lies offer a derivative and deliberate rehash of New Order's early organic/electronic dirges, circa 1981. New Order's Movement is one of my favorite albums, so I'm inclined to be excited by anything that would honor it; however, The Lies take things too far- shamelessly and disingenuously wallowing in another band's shadow. I say New Order instead of Joy Division (even though Joy Division would be more accurate) because the earliest New Order compositions merely mimicked Joy Division's urgent fatalism and The Lies just seem to be imitating that specific imitation.
Granted, New Order's natural emulation of Joy Division ended up producing a new strain of synthetic hopelessness that would go on to make a name for itself, despite its origin. The Lies, apparently, have no intention of creating a new sound: two albums into their career and there are no signs of advancement, apart from more dense atmospherics. Virtually, all the band's songs are composed in the same minor key, and the lethargic and plodding tempos seem interchangeable. Even the predictably dour lyrics lack the honesty or immediacy of their obvious models.
Rooted in post-punk and garage rock, The Lies spruce up these lengthy funeral marches with lush arrangements and melodic layers of keyboards. A knack for melody and structure the band does have, however borrowed it may be. If the dark arpeggios sound slightly familiar it's because they're all first cousins of Joy Division/New Order songs (I could make a list of all the ripped off songs and inverted melodies, if you'd like). It might be easier to give the band a pass for such blatant thievery if the lead singer could project his voice with any panache, but Dale Shaw's nerdy indie rock whine hardly conjures up the appropriate demons for such cheerless music.
Bands that got tagged with the goth label – the ones actually responsible for inspiring such a bizarre movement (The Cure, Joy Division, Siouxsie And The Banshees) – had no idea that what they were doing would be so misconstrued. The Lies have preordained their music to fall within a certain set of boundaries that seems silly two decades after its accidental creation. Without the ability to suspend your disbelief and genuinely accept all the bitterness and sadness on Resigned, its impact is stymied.
Suffice it to say The Lies are full of it.