New Jersey band Real Estate plays mid-tempo songs with three or four chords strummed on an electric guitar with a vocalist who’s so laid back it might take you awhile to notice when the band switches to an instrumental number. Critics who like Real Estate invariably describe its music as “summer-y.” But I think Real Estate is more like a warm and cozy living room on a crisp autumn day. Critics who don’t like Real Estate gripe about how the songs tend to sound alike, and nothing really jumps out to make a lasting impression. But I think that may be the point.
I was listening to Real Estate online the other day, and I let my music-subscription service pick some other artists who are supposed to sound similar. I thought for sure it would pick the Feelies, but instead it came up with the Drums and other acts that, whatever their merits, don’t have the same relaxed vibe as Real Estate. The one that came closest was Girls, but that band has elements of unpredictability and personality that demand the listener’s attention. Real Estate doesn’t really care if you listen closely.
Instead of associating itself with something really rock ’n’ roll, like a fast car or a predatory animal, members of Real Estate chose to name themselves after a subject that puts teenagers to sleep. The cover of the recently released Days shows three identical houses, none remarkable. This is not a band that wants to grab you by the throat all the time. That’s fine. Sometimes, when it’s cold out, I just want to listen to something warm and cozy.
REAL ESTATE: Sunset Temple Theater, Sunday, November 13, 8 p.m. 619-795-3630. $10.