Real Estate are a pretty established outfit. The chances are you’re reading this pretty much knowing what this album sounds like before hearing it. Production that would have you convinced they were a some underground band of chancers that supported the Beach Boys on tour once; dreamy lead guitar riffs over upbeat bitter sweet rhythms and well crafted lyrics. Real Estate haven’t gone through some creative metamorphosis, but they’ve delivered exactly what you wanted if they’ve already won you over. Music that on one hand has the ability to sink into background noise in an almost Brian Eno kind of way, but given the right setting it almost seems non-dialetic, perhaps only because of the former.
Opener ‘Had To Hear’ sets the tone perfectly. It’s dynamic and engaging yet extremely subtle. Washed out vocals and electric guitars, surf rock drums and disarming pay offs. With an excellent instrumental outro, it’s yet further proof of a band capable of writing solid, catchy songs that drift dangerously close towards soundscape territory. If you’ve heard lead single ‘Talking Backwards’ then you will be equally clued up as to what this album will sound like. It greets you with a comforting familiarity if you’ve heard the band before, and an exciting feeling of energy if you haven’t. Real Estate have found their niche and rather than an over-planned move in a new direction, they have mastered their craft and you can really hear it.
‘The Bend’ is one of the strongest tracks on the album in terms of lyricism, with the repeating mantra “Before I lose another year” lurking behind optimistic, jangle drenched country guitar lines. It’s a song that traps you in a false sense of beach-bum softness veiling some less-than sweet wording. It oozes out like a woozy, warping Thrills B-side. Technically and dynamically impressive- elements of ‘OK Computer’ and ‘The Bends’ almost seem to collide in a bizarrely uplifting outro.
‘Crime’ shows Real Estate at they’re most charming. Beautiful chord progressions and nostalgic poetry set above a driving beat. Sheer genuine craftsmanship ties together their impeccable pop writing skills into an interesting near psychedelic structure giving way to more instrumental, near ambient sections.
Closer ‘Navigator’ is an aptly sedate victory lap; beautiful guitar riffs and drums looping under carelessly breathy, tired vocals. Dynamically zigzagging and bending between bitter and sweet, it’s the perfect sign off to another solid Real Estate album.
Words: Jake Williams