Here they come again those nice jangling lads. But there's been a change in the comfy world of Real Estate as guitar twiner no 2 Matt Mondanile has quit to concentrate on his own Ducktails. Though this destroys my Monkees-esque view of the band it will be interesting to see how this affects their sound. Lead track 'Darling' shows that besides getting a horse in on the act not much has changed their summery jangle-rock.
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When I saw that Matt Mondanile had left Real Estate I have to admit I panicked. You see for me their whole sound was based around the way the guitars of Mondanile and singer Martin Courtney tangled around one another. Yes Courtney's songs are generally great on their own but as was noted when listening to his recent 'Many Moons' album he requires Mondanile in tow to do all the spiralling and cavorting guitar lines. But mOndanile has gone for reasons we now know about and although 'In Mind' is no disaster and contains some utterly lovely moments it doesn't hit hard and true like 'Atlas' or especially 'Days'. Sometimes it just drifts away in the background and you forget it's on...but it's spring and Real Estate always sound good in spring.
New guitarist Julian Lynch does nothing wrong as such. He uses different textures and shades to paint pictures with but throughout this album something is lacking. This is best exemplified in opener 'Darling' which defines the album. It's nice, it sounds like Real Estate but you find yourself switching off from it worryingly quickly. There's still a clutch of lovely tunes - 'Stained Glass' is a great little perky ditty of springtime pop, 'After the Moon' makes you want to lie on a hammock in the evening sun and the penultimate 'Same Sun' goes straight into my top 5 Real Estate janglesome treats with a chorus so infectious it should come with some kind of jangle health warning. But between times their are plenty of pleasant but inconsequential moments that after even a few listens you can't recall actually happening to the point that it's almost a relief when bassist Alex Bleeker gets his customary country-ish charmer with 'Diamond Eyes'.
As pleasant as this album is if you take one element out of the equation it makes a huge difference but we now know why he went so quickly and why Real Estate have attempted to carry on. Welcome to Real Estate Mark 2 - still charming but 25% less thrilling.
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