So much of what comes out of Brooklyn indie these days is either ‘rawk’ rock, all wild from the garage, or intimate & stripped, just solo singer/songwriter. In between has seemingly been left to the chillwave laptop artists, recording in the bedrooms. Maybe it’s because Real Estate originally hails from Ridgewood, New Jersey, that they manage again to bring sweetness, with guitars, on Atlas.
The sweet sounds don’t come as a surprise from Real Estate after 2011’s sophomore Days (QRO review), but they are still very welcome. From relaxed opener “Had to Hear” onward, Atlas channels the soft, lazy summers of your youth – summers and springs, given instrumental “April’s Song”. Perhaps not as varied as Days (save for the sadder, more alt-country/twang “How I Might Live”, where bassist Alex Bleeker takes over vocals from singer/guitarist Martin Courtney), the new record still feels utterly lovely, such as with “Talking Backwards” and “Crime”.
Whenever most critics talk about the soft, sweet Autumn Defense (QRO spotlight on), they often struggle for comparisons (they know enough not to compare the duo to their other gig, as stage-left in alt-country juggernaut Wilco – QRO live review), usually looking back to the seventies soft rock of the likes of Bread. Yet they shouldn’t claim that the sound is of the past, as prime Brooklyn Real Estate is putting it on the indie-map right now.