When Hard Fi sung of Living for the Weekend it felt like a lifestyle choice rather than a necessity. However, ten years later in a time where everyone you grew up with is stuck in jobs New Labour told us to go to university to avoid, waiting for life to truly begin without the means to allow it to, it now seems the only viable option.
Real Lies capture the zeitgeist of post-Blair Britain and 21st Century London.
A generation still living at home or crowded into student style house shares but with enough disposable income for pubs and clubs, football, trainers and drugs. A generation watching on as the city around us is flattened and sold to the highest bidder to build glass skyscrapers full of luxury apartments we’ll never afford. The first generation in living memory not to have ‘had it better’ than their predecessors but rather to have borne the brunt of their folly.
Rather than anger about this there seems to be a lingering malaise that mirrors the comedown from the endless nights out it has inspired to preoccupy us. The Wetherspoons weekends, away day sessions, night club smoking areas and night buses home.
Real Lies are the sound track to these weekends, the lingering malaise and this disaffected generation. Those 5 AM ‘someone must have a number’ conversations of everyone lost in the same sea distracting themselves from this modern Waste Land. Distracting themselves from the disillusionment and distrust created by Iraq and the recession, shit jobs and terror of the evening news as the rest of the world tears itself apart.
They inspire blurred reminiscing of cellophane ripped off another pack of Marlboro Lights, salt licked off the back of your hand, rolled up twenty pound notes and half remembered conversations in nightclub toilets. But they also remind you of waking up fully dressed on the sofa, paralysed by a hangover somehow even worse than the morning before in a room strewn with cans and carpet stained with lager and ash. Their songs are both pitched at the centre of a night out and yet somehow alienated from them.
The music itself is the next in that British lineage of thought-provoking dance music with indie sensibilities that stretches back to The Pet Shop Boys and New Order and has more recently included the likes of The XX. Naked Ambition and its repeated refrain of ‘there are so many things you can do with a Saturday’ a microcosm for a set of singles that both embrace and lament living for the weekend. If you spent your teens listening to The Streets and your twenties not settling down you can identify with North Circular. If you’ve ever blared Bizarre Love Triangle getting ready for a night out you can identify with World Peace. However, whilst a lot of modern music seems to be intent on a revival of something else this is very much music of its own age.
Equally the videos to these early releases, all Reebok Classics, Lacoste polos, Aquascutum shirts and Football Italia nostalgia are a subtle nod to lad culture without the contrived, Liam Gallagher aping, in your face laddishness of say The Twang or The Enemy.
Moreover where these bands lionise your shit job and the overwhelmingly cheerless existence of living and dying in these towns, Real Lies don’t seek to convince us that there is anything noble about fifty years nine to five punctuated by more than a few lost weekends.
They are the sound of what it's like to be young and survive in 21st Century Britain with no idea why.