For the past couple of years, Niall Galvin’s been cramming cereal into his gob, getting shitfaced most nights, lounging about on his West London sofa penning songs about parties and boredom. It’s a formula that hasn’t shifted one jot, in between his emergence as a more pop-oriented Jamie T hybrid, right up to his colourful debut ‘Jerk At The End Of The Line’.
As Only Real, Galvin captures the hungover, party-hungry default mode of the average type in their early twenties. ‘Jerk At The End Of The Line’ is a mixture of enthusiasm, apathy and being a free spirit. It’s not tricky to figure out the subjects he sings about - loved-up summers, girls, shit nights out - and without over-exerting or going beyond his limits, he keeps it simple. This is a debut that knows its boundaries.
The opposite of a modern art final exhibition or a chin-stroking “body of work”, ‘Jerk…’ gives into the dumb, nonsensical side of life. “I know people that drive Mercedes” is one of its best lyrics, and most of the focus is on a Beck-nodding, hook-heavy, don’t-give-a-shit take on pop. Galvin’s delivery is mostly tongue-in-cheek. He’s not the best rapper - and he knows it. But in acknowledging its own limitations, the record discovers its strengths.
‘Pass The Pain’, ‘Yesterdays’ and ‘Jerk’ are the best examples of Only Real’s bolshy, bread-and-butter music. Sod complexities and treading new ground - Galvin shuns the spectacular in favour of delivering easy-going - something irritatingly catchy - pop. About as complicated as a four pack of cider and a pack of smokes at a grimy UK festival, ‘Jerk At The End Of The Line’ might not knock on new doors, but behind everything is a character. Honesty does the trick on Only Real’s no-strings-attached debut.