The Main Thing

Real Estate - The Main Thing
Critic Score
Based on 16 reviews
2020 Ratings: #549 / 693
User Score
Based on 190 ratings
2020 Ratings: #884
Liked by 1 person
February 28, 2020 / Release Date
LP / Format
Domino / Label
Indie Pop / Genres
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The Main Thing is a warm, inviting record that slots nicely into the band's catalogue, and should reward fans of the Real Estate's understated yet powerful songwriting.


‘The Main Thing’ experiments well without alienating die hard fans expecting more of the same. It’s a more mature and ambitious record; the sound of a band finally out of a rut.


The Main Thing offers no grand statements, no needless experimentalism, no left-turns or tacky rebranding. It’s just Real Estate, doing their thing, and doing it better than anybody can do it, no matter how hard they try.


Real Estate grow up gracefully on The Main Thing while keeping a tight hold on the low-key charm and talent that made them stand out.


Real Estate are never going to be the band to surprise with a major musical left turn, but subtle changes on The Main Thing lead to breathtaking results.


As they enter their second decade, the indie-rock veterans gently expand the borders of their suburban ennui with plush arrangements and new voices.


Dreamy but real, hazy but pure and insightful, this project facilitates fresh ambition and explores new ground for Real Estate.

The Line of Best Fit

Although The Main Thing isn’t perfect, it serves as their version of it as we see Real Estate continuing to be both consistent and reliable as ever.

The Sydney Morning Herald

As has often been the case across the band’s catalogue, the tracks often bleed into each other and sound like one long song – and while this is perhaps repetitive on the surface, for the careful listener it offers a reliability with secrets to reveal, as long as one pays close enough attention.


This fifth album stands as a misty mix of downtempo vibes with sombre, often questioning lyrics - Real Estate strike out here, thriving in the art of surprise and subversion.

Northern Transmissions

‘The Main Thing’ may sound like a very long yawn but there’s pockets of lyrics that provide a loving, sentimental touch.

Spectrum Culture

It is at times beautiful, and the lyrics imply that making this was a piece of deep personal expression for Courtney. Still, the feeling of musical deja vu is difficult to shake, and if none of Real Estate’s albums so far have gripped you, this one is unlikely to change your mind.

The Observer

An album overloaded with artfully polished tedium.

Definitely, absolutely, positively, without a modicum of doubt or a shred of uncertainty, a Real Estate album.
I thought about passing on this.

I'm not kidding, I really thought I wasn't even going to bother with a new Real Estate album. I had low expectations for this even before the lead single dropped, because Real Estate's last album "In Mind" was easily their weakest album to date. I am glad to say that after hearing this newest here, In Mind still holds that title.

Yeah, I'm surprised too. I was anticipating that this would be worse than In Mind, but it turned out to be better by a ... read more
Despite it basically being one song that they play over and over again, I like that song quite a bit
"The Main Thing" is a beautiful and warm indie record with some really cool instrumentation. But the formula makes the songs sound really samey after a while, which makes this album feel even more bloated than it has any right to be.

Fav Tracks: Paper Cup, Friday, You, Also a But, Shallow Sun, Procession

Least Fav Track: Gone

The indie band from New Jersey releases their 5th album. “The Main Thing” is a mellow and low-key indie rock/jangle pop record with elements of folk and dream pop. The sparkling guitars, minimalistic drums and soothing vocals make the songs sound breezy and accessible. It’s pleasant, but it’s also a formula that the band just can’t let go of. This is why this album kind of sounds identical to previous records. Apart from a guest vocal and some string sections, ... read more
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Track List

  1. Friday
  2. Paper Cup (feat. Sylvan Esso)
  3. Gone
  4. You
  5. November
  6. Falling Down
  7. Also a But
  8. The Main Thing
  9. Shallow Sun
  10. Sting
  11. Silent World
  12. Procession
  13. Brother
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Added on: January 15, 2020