Ritual - White Lies

Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. Jan 18, 2011
    They've mastered the anthemic choruses; all they need to work on now is the consistency.
  2. Ritual is an enthralling album, highlighting a band flexing their musical muscles, trying to grow and add new sounds to their existing palette.
  3. Jan 31, 2011
    It may be possible to have an intimate relationship with Ritual, but White Lies' love of bombast would seem to mitigate against it.
  4. Jan 27, 2011
    Most tracks here aim to be an anthem, but none has the requisite melodic clout. It's hard to see them entering the super league on this visit.
  5. Jan 27, 2011
    The anthemic choruses largely remain but are endlessly unsatisfying and constrained. Given the unmistakeably grittier and less atmospheric qualities of this album it was the right to attempt to temper them; I'm just not so sure they pulled it off.
  6. Jan 21, 2011
    Unfortunately, they're not quite tall enough yet to ride the same coaster as Editors, much less Interpol, much, much less Joy Division.
  7. Jan 20, 2011
    In context, Ritual is the wrong title -- very little here feels repetitive or procedural. The album is a flight of fancy most listeners will want to take again and again.
  8. Jan 20, 2011
    There are moments where the mini-pops Joy Division approach hits paydirt, notably on the relentless, single-minded surge of the single, 'Bigger Than Us'. But mostly the trio are at their best when they wriggle free from the colossal shadows they're hiding under.
  9. Jan 20, 2011
    Problem is, for the second straight album, they do so with the same exact set of tools as every other band in this sphere. So critiquing Ritual threatens to be a process of listing obvious influences that's just as dull as actually listening to the thing.
  10. Jan 18, 2011
    Overall, Ritual is too much of the same.
  11. Jan 18, 2011
    Every gesture feels like flagging down a passing ship from a barren island. Every emotion registers on the Richter scale. This can be wickedly effective, as many a successful British rock band will attest. And periodically on this album, the stars and planets do align.
  12. Jan 18, 2011
    Ritual is so grandiose that it rarely has room to breathe.
  13. Jan 18, 2011
    Despite being disabled with rotten cover art, Ritual is a sturdy affair, and one that should continue White Lies' steady ascent towards something serious and important.
  14. 60
    In the end, Ritual is not a bad album. But neither is it the album it would like to think it is.
  15. Jan 18, 2011
    While the songs aren't exactly good per se, they're certainly not hateful. You'd dance to them. Maybe you'd have to be drunk. Maybe you'd have to be in Reflex. But you'd dance to them.
  16. Jan 18, 2011
    It's a decent set, but one whose pulse remains steady throughout.
  17. Jan 18, 2011
    What evades White Lies is the candid charm of his Brit-gloom forebears. The sleek synth tunes are more anthemic this time out, but the lyrics are no less overwrought.
  18. Jan 18, 2011
    A few of the tracks have a moment, usually a chorus, that you might want to play back a few times. But like Editors, taken as an album there's nothing unique, rewarding, or even merely engaging enough to be worthy of another spin.
  19. Jan 18, 2011
    Producer Alan Moulder (Depeche Mode, Interpol) helps them cautiously move into industrial territory, as on Turn The Bells. But if McVeigh's methods irked you before, they only get worse on Ritual.
  20. Jan 18, 2011
    A welcome surprise in all of this comes by way of White Lies' ability to break up the gloom with the occasional soaring moment.
  21. Apr 4, 2011
    The album delivers on the promise. {Feb 2011, p.104]
  22. Feb 1, 2011
    The Ealing doom merchants come of age. [Feb. 2011, p. 110]
  23. Jan 24, 2011
    The trio still favour widescreen grandeur, epic choruses and portentous keyboards, but they've exorcised their Duran Duran and Billy idol tendencies. [Feb 2011, p.105]
  24. Jan 19, 2011
    Taken individually, Ritual's songs can meander too much; as a whole, however, the album is a success. [Feb 2011, p.90]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. Jan 22, 2011
    Not as good as TLML but definitely not that bad!
    so track by track:
    Is love? - boring from the start but then it shows as one of the album's
    strangers - catchy but unoriginal and repetitive
    bigger than us - great choice for first single one of better songs
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 30, 2014
    Sadly, not their best work, although scattered with some great songs. I feel the band left their signature sound heard on TLML, thankfully rekindled on their third album 'Big TV'. 'Better Than Us' an incredible song. Full Review »
  3. Aug 19, 2013
    A reasonable album, but not as good as the first album, The album seems to be missing a really decent tune that To Lose My Life had with Death. Overall though it's not as bad as the critics say. Full Review »