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March 17, 2014 | by  | in Arts Music |
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Real Estate – Atlas (Review)

Three albums into their career, Real Estate are still ploughing the mine of suburbia for woozy, guitar-focussed dream pop. But where their first two albums were often nostalgic trips down memory lane, their new album, Atlas, is decidedly more present.

Lead singer/songwriter Martin Courtney’s recent marriage is a sure reason for this new found focus and mellowness. Not that their previous albums were raucous – the opposite in fact – but Atlas has a calmness to it befitting a band and singer who have come across contentment. Much of the criticism surrounding Real Estate is a lack of diversity in their music and basic sound. This is true. Real Estate’s music evolves incrementally, and on Atlas, they have never sounded more comfortable in their own skin. Though there is nothing as immediately attention-grabbing as tracks like ‘It’s Real’ from their second album, tracks like ‘How Might I Live’ and ‘Navigator’ are more beautiful than anything they have previously released, and the production quality has stepped up too.

I hate to say it, but Atlas is certainly a grower. This album is more than chilled-out, summer background music. It will work its way from that background and given enough time its intricacies will reveal themselves; any ironic distance the band held toward their suburban heritage is lost. Atlas proves that few bands know their sound so well and fewer still can execute it on the level Real Estate can. Growing old, settling down and moving to the suburbs finally has a soundtrack. That may sound sad to some, but in the hands of Real Estate it doesn’t seem so bad.

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