Indie rock is one of those genres that can mean anything. There are bands with lo-fi sounds like The Strokes that sound like they were recorded in their garage. There are psychedelic bands like Tame Impala that make the listener feel like they’ve taken too many ‘shrooms. There are wildly innovative bands like MGMT that use a lot of electronics and sound effects.
Real Estate does none of these things. They just make pleasant songs with thoughtful lyrics and catchy melodies. I loved their last album “Atlas”, and their recently released follow-up “In Mind” follows much of the same formula. Beautiful vocals, tasteful production and lots of great guitar lines create a very listenable and enjoyable sound.
The album opens up with their first single “Darling”. It carries the signature Real Estate sound – mellow arpeggiated guitars and soothing vocals with a little bit of extra reverb and some swirling phasing coming and going throughout. They have a real talent for blending sounds, tastefully done harmonies and great use of dynamics.
I love that they can make use of the indie rock sound in a tasteful way, creating interest and modernity without the effects becoming the dominant force of the material. The songwriting still comes front and center. Tunes like “Serve The Song” keep an easy pace and paint a beautiful scene without getting carried away.
“Stained Glass” is one of my favorites on here. It has a little bit of a syncopated rhythmic feel, and the harmonies sound heavenly when the chorus kicks in. I really don’t want to compare them to The Byrds, but I can’t help noting a little bit of that kind of sound throughout the album, especially on this song.
“In Mind” isn’t a dance album or a high-energy party starter. It’s more of a Sunday drive through the country kind of feel. Slower songs like “After The Moon” and “Two Arrows” ease down the pace somewhat and meander in and out of a dreamy, cloudlike state.
The rest of the album really doesn’t stray too far from their formula. Real Estate has a characteristic sound, and they stay loyal to it throughout. Too many indie rock bands try to do too much and cut across too many genres. These guys do a great job of being tasteful and interesting at the same time. The vocals are very nice, the guitars soothing, and the whole piece of work is very cohesive. I recommend checking it out – this is something almost anyone could enjoy.
Two Ton Music