Words About Music
Real Estate “Atlas”
As much as I dislike referring to other publications in my reviews as, at the end of the day, opinions are just opinions, but is Pitchfork seriously the only reviewing source that shows serious love to Real Estate? It’s well documented that the Pitchfork dudes just kind of pick and choose which bands to continuously hype and which to ignore, but Real Estate seems like an odd one to choose. I mean, sure, Real Estate is a friendly, soothing, relaxing, unoffensive band that shouldn’t really have any real enemies. At worst, they’re okay. But after seeing them score in the mid-to-high 8s for all three of their albums, I decided I’d see what the all the hype was really about. Then I remembered that I’d actually listened to Real Estate’s sophomore LP “Days” back in 2011 when it came out and promptly forgot about it. Oops.
Anyway, Real Estate is a jangle pop indie rock surf pop act from New York that is all about good vibes. They sound like a more relaxed version of The Stone Roses with a better lead vocalist. Now, I have no problem with relaxing music, but something about Real Estate makes me think they lean more towards “boring” than they do “relaxing summer time chill music.” The singer could totally be saying really clever things, or maybe something really thought-provoking about the nature of emotion, but I just wouldn’t care enough to really look up the lyrics to any of these songs. Real Estate is more of a sound than a band. They’re the kind of band that would play during the end credits of an episode of Weeds.
And it’s not like this is a stylistic shift for the band. Real Estate have been reliably making pretty much the same type of music with the same chords and same atmospheric qualities since 2009, except the production value leaned a bit more lo-fi back then. So I don’t personally see what the big deal is with Real Estate. I can really only see myself listening to them recreationally if it’s summer time and I forgot that “Pet Sounds” and Yuck’s debut album are the best summer albums ever. Beyond that I don’t really see the appeal in Real Estate. It’s just boring to me. The guitars all sound the same, the lyrics sound the same, I feel like every song is in the same tempo. It’s like listening to a suburb being built.
It has its highs and lows just like every album does, but let me just say that if this were a sine curve, its amplitude would only be at like 1/4. Another complaint is that even for an album that doesn’t hit the 40 minute mark it feels too long. Also, did you know there’s an instrumental song on here? Yeah. Anyway, Real Estate totally underwhelmed me this time around. Maybe in 2-3 year when they release their next 10-song 40-minute album they’ll think of something interesting to include. Otherwise I don’t really see any reason to stick around.
SCORE – 4.1
FAVORITE TRACKS – Talking Backwards, The Bend, Primitive, How Might I Live