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Real Estate In Mind Domino

Real Estate have always been a band of continuity. Their strain of wistful, middle-American suburban-folk has never required colossal gear-shifts in order to reflect change. Instead, their maturations between albums have been subtle as they contemplate existence through gentle undulations. It’s notable then, that the New Jersey band have recently had to process the relatively major departure of their lead guitarist Matt Mondanile, who is now focusing on his Ducktails project. Mondanile, along with bassist Alex Bleeker and singer/guitarist Martin Courtney, was part of the trio of childhood friends that Real Estate was once centred around, and he’s now been replaced by another friend of the band, Julian Lynch. The test seems to have left Real Estate soul-searching.

Yet In Mind finds them in unwavering confidence on an album which, while perhaps not the finest of their career, occasionally reaches delicate new heights. Picking up from their previous album Atlas, their nominally ‘laid-back’ sound offers more pathos than can be expected, as tracks like opener Darling or the winding Same Sun are stained with an idle melancholy. Mondanile’s exit also seems to have encouraged the band to experiment. The guitar-work is looser and at times harsher, and album closer Saturday features the rare use of plaintive piano. But it’s when they indulge the warm current of more familiar instrumentation that Real Estate truly soar.

Romance is a drifting, laconic pursuit for Real Estate. Just as they lace guitars and humming synths with deft simplicity, so their lyrics prefer to profile the gentle strokes of the human heart with minimal fuss. Judging by In Mind, it’s this modest clarity that has enabled them to not only survive losing an integral player, but has also meant they still sound as quietly timeless some four albums and eight years after their debut LP. It stands to reason, there will always be space and time for speaking plainly.