The departure of long-time guitarist Matt Mondanile hasn’t affected too much stylistic change on Real Estate’s 4th album ‘In Mind’.
If you’re a sucker for bands who sit on the jangly, dreamy end of the indie-rock spectrum, then Real Estate is a name you will undoubtedly be familiar with. Alongside Wild Nothing, Beach House and Beach Fossils, they have become one of the most recognised groups in their niche, with a discography that bathes the listener in a placid pool of occasionally melancholic, but always blissful, melodies. However, the absence of lead guitarist Matt Mondanile (who parted ways to focus on his side-project Ducktails, and was quickly replaced by Julian Lynch) for their fourth record In Mind had fans wondering if this loss of a key member would affect a change in their sound; would we see Real Estate sticking even more rigidly to their tried-and-tested blueprint, or will it be a catalyst for them to try out some new ideas?
Lead single ‘Darling’ is the first of In Mind’s 11 tracks, and while it doesn’t give us any big surprises, it is still a great start, showing affection for the sound of The Beach Boys and Yo La Tengo. The lush, breezy guitar riffs work in harmony with the soft hum of synths and the warm bass, all layered in balmy reverb that’s ideal for the arrival of spring. Their performance comes off as very polite and neat, but also natural and unstraining, and before the lovely chorus even arrives, you’re sure to have been lulled into a laid-back vibe.
As In Mind goes on, it continues this trend with the upbeat ‘Stained Glass’ and ‘White Light’, and delightful closing track ‘Saturday’ mixes some piano into their formula for what is arguably the album’s highlight. Martin Courtney’s gentle, amiable vocals match well with their quaint, mid-paced instrumentation, but occasionally a lack of emotion can leave you feeling distant or detached from his performance, especially on ‘Two Arrows’, which does little to justify it’s 6:50 length, and a handful of other tracks that at points are a little bit too weightless and have some excessively glossy production.
So, much like the recent offerings from their peers Tennis and Cloud Nothings, Real Estate’s In Mind has a tendency to play it a bit too safe and in turn grows pale at moments, but overall it’s not an easy album to dislike and has enough good songs to make it worth returning to. Hopefully in the future we’ll witness them venture outside of their stylistic bounds, but at this point most will probably know what to expect from a Real Estate album, and those who have enjoyed their last three efforts are sure to enjoy this one a great deal too. (6/10) (Woody Delaney)
Listen to In Mind here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!
Tags: album review, atlas, beach fossils, Beach House, Domino, domino records, dream pop, in mind, indie rock, New Music, Real Estate, review, reviews, Woody Delaney
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