It's refreshing to hear that they've continued to push their own boundaries and take a new direction, despite the loss of Matt Mondanile. Unlike many acts that seem to get lost and lack any creativity once they're several albums in, Real Estate have arguably produced their best record to date.
The fact Real Estate have achieved this artistic development while preserving the qualities that made their earlier work so compelling is a testament to their talent, resilience and ambition following a key personnel change.
Real Estate’s simplicity and lackadaisical nature have always provided convenient sticks to hit them with but far more powerful is Courtney’s ability to laden these featherweight melodies with the kind of observations that make sense to their younger listeners while tugging on the homesick heart strings of their increasingly troubled older ones.
There is a familiarity to In Mind which for some may seem a little too much of the same from this now 'veteran' band, but as with every Real Estate record, their collective ears for little surprising turns and touches in amongst their overall pleasing sound, is still impressive, eight years on.
With their new album, In Mind, the band aren't reinventing the wheel, but they're expanding their canvas a bit.
It's hard to imagine a smoother transition on the beachside sunset of an album that is In Mind.
This is a band who are aware of where their talents lie and are happy to stick to them.
From the fuzzy way-wah bridge of "Serve the Song" to the soft and gentle swing of "Holding Patterns", the band is taking great strides in diversifying their musical palette even if it primarily coalesces and not expands on their established personalities.
In Mind ... is an album caught in a moment of transition, perched halfway between reinvention and diminishing returns.
In Mind may lack friction (there’s no Zepplyn-esque banger to keep your guard up), but it’s no worse for it. This is a band cruising in their own lane, the road smooth as Teflon.
Real Estate get hemmed in by their laidback approach, stuck in a perpetual kickback between relaxation and malaise. This is a long way of saying that Real Estate, like the Jersey suburbs, can be boring.
In lesser hands their stripped-back, fresh-faced indie could simply pass for pleasant background music, but their slowly-infectious melodies and relaxed soundscape means it’s an album that keeps on rewarding the listener after repeated plays.
Martin Courtney's songwriting adjusts to a revamped band lineup, while together they continue to perfect the singular, warm, and reliable Real Estate sound.
‘In Mind’, for all its charms and willingness to explore, mostly opts to bask in the lingering afterglow of Real Estate’s first truly outstanding record.
In Mind finds them in unwavering confidence on an album which, while perhaps not the finest of their career, occasionally reaches delicate new heights.
If your life needs to be stripped of its bombast for a little while, Real Estate remain a steadfast companion for a little R&R. Just don’t beat yourself up if you can’t sit through the whole thing.
Similar to 2014’s ‘Atlas’, Real Estate’s fourth LP fails to pack the punch of breakthrough album ‘Days’, as their usual propensity for melody is lost beneath too much focus on attempting to subvert genres in a way that seems at times contrived.
‘In Mind’ is classic laid-back Real Estate, and while there is comfort in the familiar, at times it can feel a little lax.
While the band quickly found their stride and stuck to it, In Mind exposes the fragility of their framework. The first record without co-founder and lead guitarist Matt Mondanile ... it finds the band struggling to find their footing in his absence.