Cliché dictates your average alternative music hack, however average, to be a failed musician of one description or another. Yet that said, and thus incidentally subverting this particular (if particularly depressing) convention, Kev Kharas of London trio Real Lies has come the other way, flicking from Vice satirist and online editor to gritty raconteur in the time it takes to come unstuck from The Old Blue Last’s viscid floorboards.
When Deeper first emerged a little earlier on in the year, the identities of Kharas, Ben Watson and Pat King remained obscure as the song itself proved openly accessible. With its quintessentially British, rambling spoken verse and anthemic, grumbled chorus, the trio’s anonymity was less a calculated marketing ploy, and more a chance for the music itself to do the (at times, mildly atonal) talking. Indeed, it spoke volumes, although the exact numbers to have rung the mobile digits provided are recondite to this day.
It was only a few ago that the trio uploaded a previously unreleased session track, entitled North Circular, to their SoundCloud. It’s since amassed a massive 20,000-plus spins, and understandably so. For once more teeming with drizzly crackle and archetypal capital vernacular (mentions of Hornsey Lane Bridge, better known as “Suicide Bridge”, indeed reference their native north London), rarely has one band better sonically ensnared the sound of this eternally bustling hub of unremitting hubbub.
They do so with poise and metrically off-kilter lyrical aplomb – one advantage of Kharas’ having ground through the proverbial journalistic gears – as they “play with a crescendo” with comparative guile to how they spin an intricate yarn entwining fiscal incertitudes, “the men who drink in A road pubs” and the city’s smoggy microclimate. Few are able to glamorise the mundane to such scintillating effect, with North Circular a paean to an extraordinarily unpleasant stretch of the A1 that’s reminiscent of Kieran Hebden meticulously reconfiguring the Pet Shop Boys’ Please. Thus essentially London as it is reverentially aware and genuinely innovative, a certain truth surrounding Real Lies is that if they’ve still some way to go, they’re going about accelerated self-preservation in all the right kinds of ways.
Real Lies play The Waiting Room this coming Thursday, 19th December.