The formation of Real Estate back in 2009 brought in an entire new distinctive, adept sound to rock music. Eight years later, the band has seen members come and go, but still continue to produce distinguished records, so much so it is fairly easy to ignore the fact every song is pretty much the same. Even so, each one of their tracks has its own unique quality. Their ‘chill’ attitude is reflected through the tranquil beats found in all their albums, however there is a threat of Real Estate losing that certain attribute which makes them special. At album number four, this is where their creative minds are put to the test, either letting their talent keep old sounds fresh or becoming old and turning those once quirky hits sour.
Following their 2014 triumph album Atlas, In Mind, is Real Estate’s first album without founding guitarist Matt Mondanile. Introducing new member Julian Lynch, it seems the five piece have revisited the well known melodic guitar strums and showcased those nonchalant synths to produce a well mastered record. Lynch brings an edgy, experimental vibe which is just what was needed to induce a new and stimulating flavour to the long-standing band.
As the title suggests fans are left to delve deep into the mind of lead vocalist Martin Courtney, vivid images of sleepless nights, lying alone in the bedroom staring at the sealing, dreaming of the past and longing for a better future are brought to light. Courtney draws listeners into his head filled with dejection and apprehension. The mellow guitar riffs and soft synthesizers found in the introductory track “Darling’” set out the mood for the rest of the album, enticing the audience into this world of waiting and watching impatiently for the sun to rise. Continuing with soft, mellow theme in songs like “Serve the Song”, “After the Moon” and ‘”Time”, it is evident the sadness is persistent throughout.
Echoing the sound of Deerhunter and Beach Fossils, Courtney grips his audience with mid-tempo velvety arrangements. Throughout this album the band have been submerged in deep despondent thoughts, Diamond Eyes is one exception to the desolate sound, a simple song with unpretentious lyrics. “It’s a time to be humble, it’s a time to be free” Courtney hums over peaceful synthesizers, it’s arguably the most uplifting tune of In Mind, there to inspire will power and illustrates the modesty of this band.
Described as similar to The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, the arrangements on the song “Two Arrows” are masterfully put together. Before the track is immediately cut off the strenuous seven-minute melody consists of loud, hypnotic, grunge filled guitar riffs providing an out of body psychedelic experience. Suggesting the mental state in which Courtney explored when creating this song, fans are transported back in time left to float around in his distorted fantasy land engendering an intoxicating effect.
Real Estate are unquestionably unique, the combination of Courtney’s mellow character and neutral tones create a whole new world full of thought and imagination, it is that then which provides a certain pleasure that is hard to disregard. It seems the sound is carefully reaching for new and innovative themes yet still preserving its fundamental aesthetic. In Mind is definitely an album upholding its original roots but is also pushing forward into a new refreshing zone, bringing an eagerness to see what the fifth album will deliver.