‘Real Life’ is the debut album from the London based trio Real Lies, a band that effortlessly and vividly takes you on a nostalgic journey of rogue nights out, wayward friendships and adolescent romances.
Since their now most popular track, North Circular, was dropped by Jamie xx in his boiler room last year, the band have had great exposure to UK’s underground dance music fans. Formed in 2012, they have had moderate success with the release of critically acclaimed singles such as ‘Deeper’, ‘Seven Sisters’ and ‘World Peace’; all released on the independent record label Marathon Artists and accompanied by remixes by the likes of Pariah and Bey LF.
The band’s sound can be described as a somewhat modern take on The Street’s Original Pirate Material, complemented by the iconic 80’s synth of the Human League. The album opens with ‘Blackmarket Blues’, a dreamy club track that touches on, and introduces, some of the main themes that are to be covered in the album. This song showcases some of the best production on the album; a beautiful synth-driven intro, with a “hands in the air” bridge that drifts into the second verse; a crescendo of kick drums and crashes that escalates higher and higher until the sudden ending to the song.
‘And this is one for every old friend that I’ve lost, every girl I loved at school who got married to a ghost’
If you’ve grown up outside a major city you will know what it’s like to have one local club, and the awe and jealousy you feel of others that live in a city with a thriving music scene. ‘One Club Town’ tells the story of suburban kids who have grown up in a ‘one club town’ and have moved away from home, to a nightlife utopia. Probably the most upbeat song on the album, embracing powerful female vocals integrated with an almost ska riff, over a house backdrop.
North Circular is the track the stands out the most on the album. The track pays homage to early 90’s house and, at 124BPM, this is an outright dance track that could have definitely snuck its way into an 808 State set at The Haçienda. The song evokes, not only nostalgia of your first few nights out in a brand new city, but also the fear of not wanting to leave what you had behind and the inevitable problems that involve moving on.
This is undoubtedly one of the most important underground dance album releases of the year. For any UK electronic music fan who often misses the personal references that dance music tends to lack, this one’s definitely for you. At times the production can sound quite shoddy and rushed but that doesn’t matter; it all adds to the DIY, street feel that this album portrays so well. The band explores many different styles in this record, as bands often do in their debut albums, so it’ll be very interesting to see which direction they decide to go with in their second album. Luckily, you can catch these guys at Rock City next month, supporting Foals. If you missed out on tickets, you can see them for free in Rough Trade, London upon purchase of the album.