Music Review: "Real Estate" by Real Estate

12/11/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Joshua Walkos

New Jersey has produced some terrific music in years past. I mean, come on, Frank Sinatra, George Clinton, The Boss, Yo La Tengo, Bon Jovi--all right, maybe exclude the Bon Jovi part. But I'm not afraid to admit that I impulsively sing "It's My Life" every time it comes across the airwaves. Don't judge. Out of all of the bands I just mentioned, Yo La Tengo would probably be the closest comparison to Real Estate, even if that is that is sort of a stretch.

The music on their first self-titled release harks back to a time when we were all children with the summer off, having nothing better to do with our time except get to know each other and discover new things about the world around us. Starting off with "Beach Comber," which is a perfect introduction to the band's easy-go-lucky rhythm and surprising restraint, the song takes you back to the time when you were 16 and sitting in the back seat of your friend's car. The warm summer breeze tickled your forehead, and the setting sun left you in anticipation of what the night might offer. The feeling of that unspoken unknown you and your peers felt at that moment is something hard to recreate.

And yet "Real Estate" recreates it--youthful carelessness is a common theme that runs throughout the album. Frontman Martin Courtney exhibits a thoughtful, sincere singing style. His voice meshes with the hushed, playful tones in a humble way. For a relatively new band, Real Estate exudes confidence. Not giving in to the indie-pop hungry masses, they are not a afraid to let their songs marinate in melody and build to sonic heights, elements a straightforward pop song would not normally allow.

The band seems to have a in-joke or an affinity for water references. A quick look at the tracklist might make you cringe since seven of the 10 tracks refers to some form of water, whether it be "Green River" (not a CCR cover), "Beach Comber" or "Let's Rock the Beach." However, once you have listened to those songs, which are pulled off with sincerity and cleverness, their inclusion makes sense. There is a classic feel of the Beach Boys here or, even closer, to the Byrds--but only if those bands had been given some muscle relaxers and a couple Coronas before they stepped into the studio.

If you are looking for a sunny album to keep you warm in the approaching winter, look no further than "Real Estate."  It's a CD that will have you rifling through your pantry trying to find that leftover margarita mix from last July. So, bust out the blender, put on your shades and listen to a nice piece of Real Estate. If location is everything, I sure like the emotional location this music puts me in.

Listen to "Beach Comber" below:

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