Double LP on blue vinyl
The cult act. That dying breed. This strangely nostalgic land has seen a few down its years, though - and wouldn't you just know it - it's not quite the same anymore, what with your Tik Toks and your Algorithim and your Nothing's As Good As It Used To Be. And yet here we have Real Lies, ten years and two albums in, still out there, still meaning everything to someone. When they first bulldozed their way to attention back in 2012 and the Quietus labeled them 'the Pet Shop Geezers', it felt like a moment was there for the taking. For whatever reason, the world didn't turn exactly the way they wanted, and now all these late nights and missing members and labels later, it's remarkable, really, they made it to a second album (self-released, too, may i add). Remarkable more so that it's the record it is. Slimmed to the duo of Kevin Kharas and Patrick King, they now emulate that classic two-piece pop formation of PSB, Soft Cell, Arab Strap, all acts involved with some kind of relationship with the night. Similarly, Real Lies are compelled by the knife-edge of the evening out, friends and lovers, the distances in between - all that lusty, chemically-flared business that many of us crash against each weekend. In that sense, Lad Ash is supremely relatable fair, but it also feels deeply specific and personal, too. A line on the inner sleeve asks, 'if you can come home to a place on a map, maybe you can come home to a moment in time', which functions as a kind of epigrammatic encapsulation of the romanticised rites of passage and tales of communal epiphanies that fill its 60 or so minutes. The production here is far superior to anything they've attempted before, a mixture of Underworld propulsion and IDM-styled arpeggios, though i've found the narrative thrust of the lyrics to be the thing to which i return. I'm a sucker for a pithy turn of phrase, and they're here in droves, as both confessionals and self-fulfillng prophecies, detailing late nights, even later mornings, but finding some value in that fog of time. There's probably a lot of self-searching in here, but the result is ultimately hopeful. In that sense, Lad Ash is the pulling up of the blinds at the end of the night to discover it's light outside and that, just perhaps, it always was.