Real Estate – In Mind

Stick with this band – they are much wiser than you know.

Real Estate - In MindLabel: Domino
Released: 17th March 2017
Rating: ★★★

It seems odd that a band as undeniably ‘pleasant’ as Real Estate might polarise opinion. Four albums in, they remain something of a cult outfit here in the UK, garnering a modest following of shoegaze revivalists and ‘background noise’ consumers. Don’t let their laid-back attitude fool you – like easing yourself into a too-warm bath, ‘In Mind’ is a record that feels cloying at first, but only gets better with proper immersion.

While their brand of leisurely guitar music is understandably a little too languid for some, when they get their pace right, they are a band for whom the stars align. And pace is everything on ‘In Mind’ – ‘Two Arrows’ is nearly seven minutes long but never outstays it’s welcome, meandering away to an abrupt halt that jars like a particularly arresting hangover. It contrasts beautifully against the perky ‘Stained Glass’, a track that would have settled quite comfortably on 2014’s ‘Atlas’.

Under all those hazy suburban chords lies a lyrical narrative none of us can outrun – the weight of burgeoning adulthood. In the three years since their last record was released, Real Estate have seen members become fathers, move out of New Jersey and in the case of founding guitarist Matt Mondanile, quit the band entirely. Such upheaval would cause lesser bands to lose their footing, but instead, ‘In Mind’ sees a band so indebted to nostalgia take a brave step into the future, boldly facing their struggles head on. “When a stranger is living in your old house / what does where you were born still say about you? / It’d be best to jettison what you can’t redo,” muses a Martin Courtney on ‘Saturday’ a delicate closer that could soundtrack the coming of age of any teen movie. Today’s moral lesson? Stick with this band – they are much wiser than you know. Jenessa Williams