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Real Estate plays warm songs for cold nights

by admin December 1, 2009

Real Estate – Real Estate
(woodsist; 2009)

7.5/10

The self-titled debut from Real Estate, a New Jersey foursome, brings back memories of sweltering summers long past, as indie pop is mixed with a touch of mellow surf rock. For an album that brings out the sun bum in all of us, it’s odd to have it released just as winter is rounding the corner. Had the album been released just before June it would have made an excellent summer soundtrack.

At its core Real Estate is made up of Matthew Mondanile of Ducktails, Predator Vision, and The Parasails, his high school friends and long time jam partners, Alex Bleeker and Martin Courtney, and fellow Predator Vision member, Etienne Duguay. In the summer of 2008 they began to string together a number of singles that would eventually become their first full-length album, Real Estate.
The record opens with “Beach Comber,” a fitting entrance point to the hook-laden guitars, Courtney’s subdued vocals, and airy summer vibe of Real Estate. At times the vocals threaten to slip under the current of Modanile’s gentle strumming guitar riffs, but Courtney manages to stay afloat as he sings about the beach, sun, and sand. It’s pop perfection built for a hazy July day.

“Pool Swimmers,” the second track of the album, is the only number to fall completely flat as it comes across dull and hollow. Courtney’s vocals, succumbing to the strong performance of Modanile, are drowned out which leaves the song lacking in composure.
The song that has received the most attention in the pre-release hype of blogs and 7″ singles comes half way through in the album’s track listing. “Fake Blues” turns up the energy as Modanile layers his guitar’s twangs to form a rich pop styled riff worthy of The Beach Boys. Again Courtney’s vocals are second string, barely breaking through. It’s the juicy guitar riffs on display and rightfully so. Modanile proves time and time again he can throw down an incredibly hum worthy guitar solo.
As the album winds down, Real Estate rehashes instrumental material from Mondanile’s solo venture Ducktails. The cover of “Let’s Rock The Beach” is much slower in pace than its original version and blends in quite well with the laid back ambience.
Real Estate is a promising release from a talented group that may be the only way to beat back the looming blustery winter.

Trial Track: “Fake Blues”

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