Friday, December 24th, 2021

Real Lies – Oh Me, Oh My (Nicotine Patch)

Mica offers us this other kind of break-up song.


Mica Hilson: One of my first post-pandemic concerts was seeing Real Lies in a tiny London storage unit turned club. I got there unfashionably early and watched the lads in the band struggle to tack up their stage set: little white banners emblazoned with slogans like “What Bliss to Be Alive.” And yet when their all-too-short set started, the club came alive with sweaty fans pressed close together shouting out the lyrics, reveling in the late-night energy of the music. “Oh Me, Oh My (Nicotine Patch)” is basically made for this nocturnal club setting, with its woozy synths and breathy vocals. “What you gonna use those sore lips for?”/”Making vows, breaking laws” might just be the half-rhyme of the year.

Nortey Dowuona: The pealing sample lops and bland, slipped drums make a somewhat appealing track to run on, but Kev is blown away by Dominique Russell’s more lively and commanding voice which truly owns the swirling mists around, making it a home on which Kev and Patrick have wound up as guests.

Iain Mew: Pitched somewhere between dance and synth-pop with a perfect balance of brightness and depth, the sound is enjoyable enough that it took a long time to even notice that it was being sung to nicotine. And they follow through deliciously, though “there are shrines to you outside every club I’ve ever been to” would be a brilliantly evocative line even without the topic. 

Ian Mathers: Now that I’ve heard it, like, of course someone decided to make synthpop in the style of The Field (I bet this isn’t remotely the first time, just the first time I’m running into it). It works… pretty well! The could have removed the male singer and just given the other one more to do and it’d work better though, I think.

Scott Mildenhall: The constantly jarring instrumental, dominating the encumbered vocal, does its job of representing the oppressive, cyclical nature of addiction, but nevertheless makes the whole pack of Gauloises seem very slick. It’s the sort of thing advertisers would probably use to promote tobacco in the UK now if they could. Happily, they can’t, but although there’s doubtless an extra dimension to this for smokers, the concerted allure is easily enjoyed without engaging with the subject matter.

Edward Okulicz: The most distinctive thing about this song is that show it stops and starts and makes the listener feel a bit woozy. Maybe that’s what withdrawal feels like, although its thematic relevance still doesn’t stop it being the thing I like the least here. Otherwise this is actually very clever and subtle, in passing it passes for something that’s not a duet between a man and a cigarette. But how good a premise is that?

Katherine St Asaph: Late-night bar blur, male vocals curling smokebreath and dripping sleaze, blank female vocals reminiscent of “Entropy Reigns in the Colossal City,” a “Promiscuous” bridge — a dispatch from a parallel nocturnal world less and less reachable by the day, but one that perhaps left some unlit lights in you.

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