Real Estate – The Main Thing (Album Review)

Real Estate – The Main Thing (Album Review)

Formed in 2009, and currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Real Estate concocts a musical style taken after the swirl and subtle fuzziness of Dreampop and then topped with a glaze of Shoegaze for good measure. Currently consisting of Martin Courtney IV (vocals, guitar), Alex Bleeker (bass, vocals), Jackson Pollis (drums), Matt Kallman (keyboards), and Julian Lynch (guitar), Real Estate has five full-length albums in its sonic arsenal—from 2009’s self-titled to the newly unleashed The Main Thing.

Released on Friday, February 28, 2020, via Domino Recording Company, The Main Thing opens with the slowly swelling buildup of “Friday,” which will surely make the listener swoon in love straightaway. This is then followed by the sunny, jazzy, Sophistipop allure of “Paper Cup.” Real Estate then treats the listener to the proper, slow balladry of “Gone,” only to lift again the senses to Dreampop heaven with “You.”

Another upbeat track then plays next in the form of “November,” which with its breezy, nostalgic rhythm and Byrds-esque saccharine melody, is enough to conjure sweet drops of snow despite its being still a month shy from the last month of the year. The Psychedelic Folk sensibilities then continue with the subtler plucks of “Falling Down” and “Also a But.”

Perfect as the mid-album highlight, the title-track then fits its angular guitar strums and tuneful twee-voice smoothly into the whole narrative. A bit slower in tempo, “Shallow Sun” then shines in the same spot with its bright predisposition.

Real Estate then shifts again its Light Jazz gear with the piano ballad “Sting.” The following “Silent World,” on the other hand, radiates its Neo-Acoustic glow; it will fit onto a playlist that includes World Party’s “Put the Message in the Box,” The Painted Word’s “I Found Love Today,” and Deacon Blue’s “Loaded.” The pastoral procession resumes with the penultimate track, and then Real Estate finally wraps up its new album aptly with the relaxing, acoustic surf of the instrumental ballad “Brother.” Serene. A perfect theme for dream weaving.

Dreampop/Shoegaze music may have been championed in the 1990s by the likes of Cocteau Twins (“For Phoebe Still a Baby”), Ride (“Chrome Waves”), Catherine Wheel (“Black Metallic”), Chapterhouse (“Treasure”), and My Bloody Valentine (“[When You Wake] You’re Still in a Dream”); but it did not stop there. In the decades that followed, new bands operating within the vortex continue to emerge—Beach Fossils (“Twelve Roses”), Deerhunter (“Strange Lights”), Snuff Redux (“Molly’s House”), Beach House (“On the Sea”), and of course, Real Estate, whose latest record proves that the gloriously gyrating groove of Dreampop and Shoegaze is still alive and well within the midst of Alternative music. That is why Cryptic Rock gives The Main Thing 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. As a means to further his passion for music, he formed the band haLf man haLf eLf. He now performs with another band, The Psychedelics. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He began writing album reviews for CrypticRock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf? His next planned literary endeavor is to publish the remaining parts of the anthology and his works on Poetry, Fantasy Fiction, and Mythology. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. He participates at various community events; and he explores the diverse cultural beauty of Canada whenever his schedule permits it. aLfie is a doting and dedicated father to his now ten-year-old son, Evawwen.

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