Since their debut in 2009, Brooklyn-based Real Estate have stuck to their winning formula of college-rock and 60s’ psychedelia, showcasing adept songwriting and building a steady fanbase on both sides of the Atlantic. Album number four, ‘In Mind’, doesn’t stray from past territory but is the sound of a band completely comfortable in their own clothes.
Opener ‘Darling’ has shades of Tame Impala with a hypnotic groove that sets a chilled-out template for the rest of the album to rest its head on. Following track ‘Serve The Song’ is the equivalent of a vintage Instagram filter, a fuzzy warm soft-rock number that wouldn’t be out of place showcasing chocolate sauce oozing out of a soufflé.
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Lyrically the album deals largely in broad brushstrokes with dream-like sequences focusing on sleep patterns and the slow movements of nature. Often this can sit nicely with the spaced-out vibe of the music, but can sometimes leave you wanting a little more substance to help the songs stand out. The album lulls a little early on after the opening trio, with ‘After The Moon’ and ‘Two Arrows’ feeling a little too baggy, but there is still something compelling about the assuredly low-key sound the band revel in making.
‘Diamond Eyes’ manages these broad themes better, with front-man Martin Courtney singing about where “the skies meet the shoreline and where the mountains meet the sea”, combining them with a quick-step beat and a cute melody to create a new campfire ditty for the next generation of scouts. Other highlights are ‘Same Sun’, which allows its central riff to flower into a beautiful chorus of soothing melodies and the jangly acoustic strummer of ‘White Light’.
Forty five minutes in the company of Real Estate feels like an electric meditation session, with the clean guitar sound reverberating around your head until you find yourself searching for the nearest beanbag and Bob Ross compilation video. In lesser hands their stripped-back, fresh-faced indie could simply pass for pleasant background music, but their slowly-infectious melodies and relaxed soundscape means it’s an album that keeps on rewarding the listener after repeated plays.
‘In Mind’ is out now on Domino Records.