Ranging with comparisons from the tender but sinister songwriter, Jamie T to the sedating daydream that is Mac Demarco, Niall Galvin, AKA Only Real’s, sound is hard to put your finger on but one thing that is for definite is that his debut album, Jerk At The End Of The Line has branded him as one of the most exciting upcoming artists this year.
He introduces his laid-back demeanour in Jerk, where bright and chiming guitars bounce off his attractively off-kilter vocals when he practically speaks, “And if you miss me, I’m the jerk at the end of the line”. With its sun-speckled keyboard synths and a hazy summer day groove, this is a tropical downbeat jam with hoarse “Oh’s” and “Ah’s” blended into the musical cocktail. Lyrically, Blood Carpet and Pass The Pain is the closest listeners get to labelling Galvin as a `rapper` but the buzzy mix of trip-hop and lo-fi ambience gives him a unique edge that differentiates him from his already emerging comparisons.
However, this cheeky chilled Brit shows us there is more to him than happy-go-lucky tunes when he admits, “I stay asleep to stop the worst” in Can’t Get Happy, a delicate melody exploring depression. In a recent interview, Galvin expresses “There’s a bit of love stuff, anger, joy and inner insecurities and self-deprecation and questioning; it encompasses all those parts of me”; this album clearly conveys many emotions but his warm melodies transform this sadness into a comforting listen.
Warmly dipped in reverb, Cadillac Girl is a woozy nod to psychedelica with a dreamy bass line that swirls around Galvin’s vocals when retelling picturesque tales of “lost youth”. Whilst In My Kind, is a hypnotic guitar carousel that rounds the album off seamlessly to a close with little lyrics and an underlining beat reminiscence of The xx. I can almost smell the campfires, cider-stained clothes and narcotics filling the air that will tobacco glaze around this track and converting it into the perfect summer jam.
An album cover that is as colorful and creative as his songs, Only Real is a refreshingly alternative artist that envelopes everything in the vicinity of 90’s pop, rap, psychedelic lo-fi and melancholy ballads.