Real Estate - Atlas
Critic Score
Based on 34 reviews
2014 Ratings: #232 / 956
Year End Rank: #46
User Score
Based on 403 ratings
2014 Ratings: #120
Liked by 1 person
March 4, 2014 / Release Date
LP / Format
Domino / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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Their songs have always resided somewhere between head-in-the-clouds lightheartedness and day-dreamy nostalgia, but the ten songs that make up Atlas seem more mature, more deliberate, and lacking some of the carefree naiveté of earlier work.

The Fly

This time round, perhaps due to Courtney’s settling down and the addition of Girls keyboardist Matt Kallman, the band sounds fuller and more mature, with a tendency to look forward rather than harking back to the past.


They’ve made the first record of their career that feels like it might teach you something over time. It is rare, and special, for a band to be this effortlessly and completely themselves. 


Atlas might seem like an obvious career peak were this not the work of a still-young band that, from the start, has been predisposed toward graceful maturation. 

Pretty Much Amazing

These sonic tweaks are welcome, but they are merely the fine grain of an album that works in broad, hypnotic strokes – song by song capturing feelings of separation, exploration, and uncertainty.

Consequence of Sound

Their third LP, Atlas, trades in 20/20 hindsight for the courage of trying to grasp an endlessly unclear future.


Real Estate seem to have sharpened up their songwriting chops this time around. While some of their self-titled debut and Days had a tendency to float over the listener, each track here has a hook that pulls you in.


Through lulling endless days to fretting thoughts about the future, they remain the same bunch, capable of making the impossible sound almost too easy.

The Line of Best Fit

There’ll be plenty of albums this year that grab you by the throat more vigorously than Atlas does, but very few of them will be quite as lovingly nuanced – and none will make the guitar sound anything like as appealing.

Under The Radar

Here's an album dedicated to the kind of sweet, streamlined guitar pop that, in a better world, could bring us world peace. It's easy and free, sailing along serene waves and stealing all our bad feelings to bury them at the bottom of the ocean.

No Ripcord

As simple and unchallenging as Atlas is, it’s undoubtedly the group’s most emotionally resonant album, both sonically and lyrically, even if Real Estate chooses to unleash them in a diminutive sigh rather than a fearsome roar.

Drowned in Sound

Courtney's songs circle around the suburbs, but they never really leave – they can’t. The point is the journey, rather than the destination.


It's amiable, deceptively dense and, ultimately, rewarding.

Rolling Stone

Their third LP refines the approach with keyboardist Matt Kallman, allowing guitarists Martin Courtney and Matt Mondanile more curlicue time and adding a spacier vibe


We already expected pastoral folk-rock with dewy thickets of guitar lines that ripple like a pond. But they've internalized the difference between relaxation and an aural shrug.

The 405

The LP is sympathetically produced - less cluttered than Days without feeling too airy - but the ease that once made for a deliciously languid listen now seeps into being listless, and the band's melodic grip, previously their strong suit, has slipped. 

A.V. Club

Despite some strong material, the album is ultimately too light to stay grounded, too loose to stick.

The Skinny

Atlas will find its place, undoubtedly in the collections of Teenage Fanclub aficionados, but for all the joy that sunny indie pop can bring to our hearts, others have been here before and just done it a little better than Real Estate


With such of wealth of new music competing for our ears, the gruel-bland stylings of Atlas barely merit a chance listen. In fact, like a jangle-pop case of the plague, it should be avoided at all costs.

Atlas is an excellent album that feels like the band members made it effortlessly. I only wish it carried more memorable tunes as their previous album Days.
It sounds like Real Estate are they are having fun on this album which focuses on mellow, reverb-heavy and simple guitar riffs. They write good melodies and it is awesome.
Damm fine stuff. All sounds so effortlessly
those easy guitar soles that speak of a worry free bacon roll.
To quote of the UK's late great philosophers "great, smashing, great".

Bus fare home.
one of the most important albums to me
I have the same issues with this album that I did with their last, Days. It's just pretty boring indie rock with heavy summer vibes. It's not bad, but there's nothing that's going to keep me coming back. I'd say that their songwriting has gotten better since Days, but there's still nothing interesting to it. Since a lot of the tracks sound the same, not much stood out to me. I still love Talking Backwards though.

Favorite tracks: Had To Hear, Talking Backwards, How Might I Live
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Track List

  1. Had to Hear
  2. Past Lives
  3. Talking Backwards
  4. April's Song
  5. The Bend
  6. Crime
  7. Primitive
  8. How Might I Live
  9. Horizon
  10. Navigator  
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Added on: January 14, 2014