January 19, 2011 / 4:42 PM / in 7 years

White Lies shrug off reports of "death of rock"

LONDON (Reuters) - British rock band White Lies has shrugged off suggestions in the media that its genre of music is a dying breed, after hip-hop and pop dominated the singles charts in 2010.

<p>A 1965 Fender Stratocaster guitar belonging to Jimi Hendrix is held up during a photocall at the Idea Generation Gallery in London July 24, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>

The London trio also said they had moved toward a more electronic, computer-generated sound when making their second album “Ritual,” out this week on the Polydor label, part of Universal Music.

“If you look at the actual chart, seeing a band like White Lies in there, we’re a drowning pig in a duck’s pond,” bass guitarist Charles Cave told Reuters in an interview, going on to explain that he had invented his mixed metaphor.

But he added that rock music’s poor sales performance in Britain last year was not necessarily all bad. “It seems there’s either all the room in the world for us or no room at all, it depends on how you see it.”

Lead singer Harry McVeigh also said the genre of rock was changing all the time, making it hard to identify and quantify.

“What people count as rock music, I don’t know, it’s such a small part of what I consider rock music,” he said.

Music Week recently reported that there were just three rock songs in the 100 biggest hits in the UK last year, down from 13 the year before. Hip-hop/R&B was the most successful sector, grabbing 47 percent of the top sellers in 2010, followed by pop with 40 percent.

Although rock performed significantly better in the album charts, Music Week commented: “This was its lowest tally in 50 years and underlines what has been a difficult year for new rock acts, with few commercial breakthroughs.”

RITUAL VIES FOR TOP SPOT

The midweek music listings from the Official Charts Company released on Wednesday showed Ritual in second place on the album chart, behind Bruno Mars of the United States.

Reviews have been middling, with the Guardian and music magazine NME giving Ritual the equivalent of six out of 10.

The record follows their debut album “To Lose My Life,” which topped the UK chart in 2009 and went on to sell around one million copies worldwide, according to reports.

“For us, White Lies are still lacking in the one crucial area any band giving themselves over to the Darkness cannot afford to be short in: conviction,” NME wrote this week.

“In the end, ‘Ritual’ is not a bad album. But neither is it the album it would like to think it is.”

According to Cave, the band turned increasingly to technology to make Ritual.

“We worked more on a computer this time, using computer as a sketch pad for making ideas,” he said.

“Even the more conventional natural sounding instruments you look for in libraries in computers have an electronic edge so even if we were looking for pianos or natural sounding strings, you end up veering more toward electronic versions of that.”

Writing and additional reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato

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