New Jersey newcomers Real Estate are a beach-pop quartet that fuse playful guitar riffs with drowsy vocals. Their eponymous debut album fizzes, gurgles and splashes for nearly forty sun-drenched minutes, whilst hinting at greater depth behind the sea, sand and sunshine facade.
The guitar riff to album opener Beach Comber meanders in as if caught unaware of even being recorded, and is joined by equally casual drum and bass lines. Distant, hazy vocals introduce a darker ingredient to proceedings, creating a wonderfully layered sound: “What you want is just outside your reach / You keep on searchin’ / You’re walking down that Pensacola beach / You keep repeatin’”. This struggle between escapist dreams and tedious reality is very much the tone for the whole album, yet subtle variations prevent their sound from becoming worn out. The super-catchy Fake Blues will have you whistling along on your first listen, while the borderline-psychedelic Suburban Beverage could easily be mistaken as a lost treasure of the sixties. Frontman Martin Courtney actually musters considerable enthusiasm for his singing on album closer Snow Days, producing a buoyant climax as cheery as the album’s opening.
Happy-go-lucky song titles (Pool Swimmers) and aloha-ha instrumentals (Let’s Rock The Beach) give this album a light and breezy feel that will transport you away from the cold, Glaswegian winter. The slightly cynical, contemplative lyrics, however, prevent it from ever becoming overly indulgent. Real Estate is a well-balanced debut, packed with ideas and pleasantly uplifting.