Real Estate - Atlas

02 April, 2014

By Sam Ralph



Picture the scene: a lazy summer Sunday in suburban New Jersey, whiskey on the rocks in one hand, feet dangling in the cool waters of a swimming pool. In this utopian vision, Real Estate would be a fitting soundtrack. They are renowned for overuse of reverb, to the point where lyrics become meaningless, and sunny guitar hooks. Upon my first listen of their new album, Atlas, I was disappointed to hear that not a huge amount had changed. However, I soon realised that in fact, in their new album, Real Estate have both perfected their sound, and grounded it. The idyllic summer is fading, and upon the horizon waits the brutal realities of winter. 


The main progression that Real Estate have made in Atlas is that their lyrics have become more prominent, greatly aided by a newfound clarity of sound masterminded by producer/mixer Tom Schick. Atlasstill relies on the chemistry between Martin Courtney's floaty tenor and Matt Mondanile's jangly guitar licks. Both are in top form, giving the album a good grounding in catchy melody. The instrumentation, like in Real Estate's previous work is upbeat and positive. 


However, the sunny outlook of the dreamy guitar licks and vocal hooks betray the dark nature of the lyrics, which come into the fore on Atlas. Themes of isolation, "crippling anxiety" and sombre nostalgia are prominent. This maturation of lyrical themes gives the album a sense of progression that may not be obvious on the first couple of listens, and it is what makes it by some distance their best work yet. Real Estate have become more than the reverberated surf-rock cliche that some had written them off as previously. While Atlas represents nothing particularly novel, it is simply a great, chilled out, guitar album.





Primary Genre: Indie Rock

Secondary Genre: Dream Pop

Release Date: March 4th, 2014

Label: Domino

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Album highlights: Past Lives, April's Song, Navigator






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Real Estate - Navigator