Real Estate are a close knit band of friends who have known each other since school. Their shiny pop and a love of The Smiths has seen them tour the world and release critically adored albums. In Mind is their fourth album and is the result of the biggest challenge the band has had to face to date. Founding member Matt Mondanile left the group to focus on his solo work Ducktails and was replaced by Julian Lynch.
Real Estate make a bold statement with the first single Darling. Not only do they use a live horse in their video at the peril of their keyboard, they snub their nose at radio by waiting for a minute and a half before introducing the vocals to the tune. In spite of all of this, the striking melody and guitar melody will ear-worm you for days is a high point.
When asked what new guitarist and school time friend Julian Lynch brings to the band, the emphatic answer is “distortion”. Lynch makes his presence felt early during Serve The Song where his fuzzed out playing adds a hazy backdrop to his bandmates’ crispness. This extra edge is a timely addition to Real Estate who’s only failing to date may have been a propensity for their music to be too ‘nice’.
Striving to craft the perfect pop song, Real Estate make music that comes across as carefree and breezy without being lightweight. As the members grapple with the responsibilities of maturity, they bring new layers to their songwriting with the snail paced After The Moon being a rare ruminative moment, while Two Arrows is the pristine type of jangle that would fit perfectly in the Raymond McGinley (Teenage Fanclub) playbook.
Martin Courtney and Alex Bleeker deliver tuneful of harmonies throughout In Mind to stake their claim as one of the most appealing vocal partnerships doing the rounds at the moment. In Mind is the first Real Estate record where they have wholeheartedly handed over the reins in the studio with Cole MGN (Beck, Ariel Pink) pushing the band out of their comfort zone while maintaining their clear sense of pop.
There is a sheen to In Mind that has been lacking in previous Real Estate releases. It is the sound of a band hitting their stride and delivering on their promise.