Four Stars

History tends to repeat itself. Such is the case with Real Lies’ promising debut, Real Life, an album teeming with evocative synthpop echoes of the 90s. Yet, whilst unashamedly recalling New Order, The Happy Mondays and The Streets, this London trio manage to repackage that erstwhile 90s sound for the new generation living in the “decade with no name”, as ‘Seven Sisters’ cleverly dubs it. The album’s duality is its true success – derivative but fresh, euphoric but occasionally melancholic, Balearic but eloquently lyrical. From the intensely brooding Mike-Skinner-inspired spoken word of ‘Blackmarket Blues’ and ambient chill of ‘North Circular’, to the Hacienda haziness of ‘Dab Housing’ and anthemic piano house, soaring vocals of ‘World Peace’, the band pays homage to the noisy nights out and the silent mornings after. It is almost an ode to UK dance culture and the nights that you never forget, spent with those you love, best captured in the opening song ‘Blackmarket Blues’: “You are the straight-through crew, not the time-out crowd/ I love my friends more dearly than I’m allowed to say aloud”. Equally as danceable as poetically lyrical, this is a soundtrack for the ecstatic highs of Saturday night, and the refl ective lows of Monday morning. A hugely exciting debut from Real Lies, and who cares if history repeats itself if it’s so enjoyable?