Real Estate on road to renewed success with latest LP
New Jersey-based Real Estate released the long-anticipated “Atlas” last month — the band’s third studio album which managed to exceed everyone’s high expectations following the acclaim for their 2009 self-titled debut and 2011 follow-up, “Days.”
Both Pitchfork and Rolling Stone have designated the new album some of the band’s best work to date. Rave reviews in tow, the band is positioned to propel beyond its loyal fan base into a much larger audience coming off its two-year hiatus.
Produced in an impressive two-weeks at Wilco’s home studio, “Atlas” contains the band’s densest and most detailed work. The additions of keyboardist Matt Kallman and drummer Jackson Pollis give the album a sophisticated and layered sound. The final product is extremely crisp, coupling of Martin Courtney’s lead vocals and simple guitar riffs.
“Atlas” serves as a map to the past and back with cyclical themes of nostalgia and blurred horizons. Much of the subject matter is as mundane as the band’s name, with melancholy sounds set in a backdrop of shimmering suburbia. The album is a clear step away from the band’s previously sunny sounds. Far from the beachy, light vibe of “Days,” “Atlas” has all of the dark ferocity of a late summer storm.
With a running time of 38 minutes, the album is short and very, very sweet. “Had to Hear” opens the album with an echoing sadness. Surefire album highlight “Past Lives” is set in a state of nostalgic reflection and regret. “Talking Backwards” brings a surge of energy into the record. But the following instrumental number “April’s Number” puts a halting break on the gained momentum and serves as a sweet intermission. The final track, “Navigator,” concludes the album with a feeling of lingering contentment.
Real Estate is in the midst of their North American tour.