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Real Estate's In Mind Prompts Listeners with the Radical Notion to Relax

In the past three years, the world has been through a lot. A whirlwind of a presidential election producing marches and rallies, controversial news sparking revolutions, and some of the best albums of the last century have all presented themselves, giving media consumers something new to look at, listen to, and read. New Jersey based Real Estate as a whole were missing during all the action, however, they finally returned in March with their first new album since 2014’s Atlas, giving listeners the much anticipated In Mind.

In Mind begins with 'Darling', an opening track that sounds comfortably familiar. Usually, as listeners, we might expect some form of change when a band is gone for just under a third of a decade, but the fact that nearly every member utilized the past three years to work on solo projects may have satisfied the band’s need to radically switch it up, returning to their old sound as if they never left it. Lead singer Martin Courtney sounds bored in the best way possible, and the beachy twinge of the guitar, a sound which is a Real Estate staple, is comforting to long time listeners, drawing them into the new album without drowning them in musical fluctuation.

The album continues with lo-fi sounding guitar riffs and Courtney’s lazy drawl, rarely interrupting moments of relaxed bliss to give listeners anything other than the sweet sound of relaxation.
'Stained Glass', one of the singles from the album, sounds like sweet porch music blaring from the speakers of a young twenty-something living in a college town. More upbeat than the songs prior, Stained Glass produces some sunshine amongst the cloudy, stay-in-all-day-and-listen-to-the-rainfall tracks which surround it. “There’s no place that I would rather be right now, I’d love never to leave, but I just don’t know how” sings Courtney. Nothing screams college weekend slacker tunes quite like this one.
Real Estate returns to their hazy lazy sound in After the Moon, a sleepy and relaxing track that transcends the beachy vibe of 'Darling', prompting listeners to melt into their pillow, close their eyes, and think. Drummer Jackson Pollis and bass player Alex Bleeker keep a slow and steady beat in the background, while Julian Lynch, on lead guitar, creates a whiny outro that’s as thick as honey. 'After the Moon' is a modern adult lullaby begging to help listeners fall into a deep indie-rock sleep.

If there is any album that can create the sound of heavy eyelids, it’s In Mind, which continues with efforts to relax each muscle of a listener's body after In 'The Moon'. Two Arrows is particularly unique on the album, leaving nearly half of the song without vocals, instead choosing to give over three minutes of song time to a psychedelic electric guitar solo mixed with the more familiar sound of Real Estate’s Beach Boy-esc bass, merging two sounds that shouldn’t work, but do.


The album mixes the familiar with the experimental, giving old listeners something they’re used to and new users a smorgasbord of tonal variation. The first half of the album showcases notable tracks that are dreamy in every sense of the word, leaving the second part of In Mind to blend together seamlessly, each song melting into the next with definite precision while still keeping up the vibe of being absolutely unbothered. 


'Diamond Eyes' stands out amongst the second half of the album, giving off a classic americana country twang and featuring main vocals by someone other than Courtney, urging listeners to raise their voices and ‘not go quietly’ amongst times of great uncertainty, perhaps adding just a pinch of political propaganda to In Mind, providing listeners with a riot anthem that they can listen to before bedtime.

While Real Estate has been on a minor hiatus, the world began a period of chaos, tension, and stress. In Mind urges listeners to take a load off and relax, each track oozing low-key beats with minimal harsh edges. This album is refreshing and familiar all at the same time, providing the world with the radical notion to take a break and chill out.


4/5 stars

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