released Nov 17th
from the album - Beach Comber
YouTube - Real Estate - Beach Comber
Real Estate were born in the depths of one New Jersey summer. Frontman Martin Courtney had just returned home to his native Ridgewood from college in Washington State, a few fresh songs in his pockets. He'd been playing music with bassist Alex Bleeker and guitarist Matthew Mondanile since high school in various forms, even covering Weezer and the Strokes records from tip to tail. But during the summer of 2008, Real Estate didn't get nostalgic for just their specific suburban nights, crushes, or favorite bands as teens-- they fashioned a tin can-and-string to memories more universal. Their self-titled debut LP is a collection of those first underwater pop songs and onward, 7" cuts and mpfrees that have been backstroking their way across the Web and into lo-fi nerdpiles. Over the past year, many of these songs have soundtracked a time when it feels like every kid in or just out of college seems to be handcrafting/clamoring for music that shuttles us back to a time before career choices, adult responsibility, and this recession.
And while the Jersey Shore has clearly become the beating heart of their current aesthetic, Real Estate captures a rock band several lengths ahead of the fuzzy beach bums with which they pine. Real Estate share tones with North Jersey indie rock titans Yo La Tengo and the Feelies, pouring those influences through warm impressions of oldies radio. Riffs are cyclical and massaged, harmonies familiar. Each song is dunked in reverb and delay, though always with serious restraint. Most importantly, all boast architecture that still allows for swaths of jamming, the feeling that every measure's unfolding as easily as life ought to.
"Atlantic City" is a fitting entrance point, an instrumental that lopes along on a humid bass line before Courtney and Mondanile (the mind behind the cassette adventures of Ducktails) begin gently braiding together strands of trebly surf guitar over Mexican güiro. Single "Beach Comber" keeps things light as Courtney looks for meaning in the sand while Mondanile pokes around with his Strat. The bedrock here (see "Fake Blues") is almost krautrock-y in the way each layer repeats itself, a bent that might prove too drowsy for some. But as is the case for much of the experience, Mondanile adds classic rock sugars throughout, taking off on a solo at the three-minute mark that unbuttons everything really gracefully.
Elsewhere, "Black Lake" is a gorgeous waltz whose slide recalls Modest Mouse's late-1990s take on the 1959 Santo & Jonny classic "Sleepwalk". Because Courtney's croon can be tough to make out at times, those watercolor frequencies lend that overwhelming sense of longing real grip, jam passages often more evocative than spaces that feature vocals. Nowhere on this debut is that better absorbed than on midpoint palate-cleanser "Let's Rock the Beach" or the six-minute shimmer of "Suburban Beverage".
With the exception of the limp "Pool Swimmers", every part remains remarkably crisp. But what sets Real Estate apart from the rest of the herd is how evergreen its beauty can be. Despite the summery song titles and the beach balling associations that might follow these guys around, this music transcends the notion of seasons. Inside the overcast tenor of "Black Lake" and the airy upstrokes of "Green River", there's much more at play here than what goes on between the months of June through September. And impressionism aside, this is a band whose chemistry and technical gifts suggest there's more coming down the pipeline: more good times to be soundtracked, and more songs and records and sounds to communicate exactly that.
1 Beach Comber
2 Pool Swimmers
3 Suburban Dogs
4 Black Lake
5 Atlantic City
6 Fake Blues
7 Green River
8 Suburban Beverage
9 Lets Rock the Beach
10 Snow Days