When I first moved to Los Angeles, I really only had one friend, a fellow transplant, and we used to go out together every Saturday night. We’d go to a little run down bar – it had been a Rat Pack hangout, but these days it’s low-key and well-worn- across the street from the beach in Santa Monica. We’d get drunk, reminisce about high school and then stumble back to my friend’s apartment to pass out. The next morning we would put on our sunglasses and bake off our hangovers on the beach. Real Estate’s eponymous debut, packed from start to finish with gently nostalgic and pretty songs, would have been the perfect soundtrack to those mornings.
The band shares Beach House’s relaxed, hazy aesthetic but standard rock instrumentation gives them a more organic sound. With two instrumentals in ten songs, Real Estate puts the emphasis on the jangly, slightly surfy, interplay of their guitars, underpinned by shuffling drums that prove surprisingly expressive. The album opens with ‘Beach Comber,’ which in its own rollicking way encapsulates the band’s aesthetic, before moving into its sleepiest section. Real Estate manages to remain just as engaging even as they slow down and by the time you get to midpoint ‘Atlantic City,’ a 50′s style meanding instrumental spiked with some surf guitar, Real Estate’s consistent, warm tone will have you hooked.
The second half of the album builds slowly but surely to album highlight ‘Suburban Revenge.’ Here a descending bass line slowly pulls chiming guitars into lockstep with a slightly distant sounding chanting, before a beautiful repeating guitar melody propels the song to as close to a blissful climax as Real Estate’s laid-back music could ever get. Real Estate has made an album full of dusty, comfortable music that still somehow sounds new. Put it all together and you have the sound of the morning after a great night, and a thoroughly enjoyable debut from a band with surely more great music yet to come.