Combining hip hop vocals with an indie pop and 90s shoegaze backdrop, London’s Only Real’s music is one that certainly can be labelled as distinct. Revealing his unique tones originally through the ‘Days in the City’ EP back in 2013 then with singles leading on from that, 2015 see’s the release of Only Real’s debut Jerk At The End Of The Line, an album bustling with the traits that makes Only Real so appealing.

Jerk at the End of the Line throughout its span harnesses the hip hop/indie pop blend, making the album feel innovative and impressive. Whilst each single track does have its own little quirks, this blend stands as the focal point, becoming the configuration that is pursued in assorted ways.

The most visible way of this is through the emotion of the songs. Tracks such as ‘Yesterdays’, ‘Blood Carpet’ and ‘Daisychained’ display a more effervescent and upbeat attitude about themselves whilst tracks such ‘Can’t Get Happy’, ‘Break It Off’ and specifically ‘Petals’ all revolve around darker sounding themes, with ‘Petals’ recognisably being the most gloomiest song of the album with eerie bass synthesiser notes and serious vocals.

Effects become another factor to consider upon the album. Reverb is something which is used conspicuously but in differing states across the tracks. Whilst some tracks such as ‘Cadillac Girl’ and ‘Backseat Kissers’ find themselves awash with the effect causing the sounds to continually bounce around, others such as ‘Jerk’ and ‘Can’t Get Happy’ take a far dryer approach, leaving the instrumentation more untouched by the extensive amount of reverb.

Through these methods, Jerk At The End of The Line fashions an enticing and multifarious selection, constructed from a significant blend that Only Real has come to signify them self with.  The combination of both hip-hop and indie-pop processes has allowed Only Real to individualise, creating an album that’s both inventive and seizes interest.

Aaron Jolliff


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