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The instant “Had to Hear” begins, you welcome back the awaited jangle of Real Estate. The indie-pop band of the moment knows exactly what you expect of them and their third LP delivers. So much dream-pop guitar licks you might drift into a daytime daze and not even know what hit you.

"Past Lives" is a leisurely transition piece. As the title suggests, the beat feels like memories fading into the past, like a Polaroid developing in reverse. "Talking Backwards," is the peppy step toward spring that you didn’t ask for but now you can’t live without it. Martin Courtney sings “I might as well be talking backwards” in the nicest way possible, making a condescending topic into a sweet love ode. “April’s Song” is the instrumental indie jam that no Real Estate album could be complete without.

"Crime" is the highlight track of this solid collection. It’s got it all the jingle-jangle guitar, hazy vocals, and boppy tempo without being over-ambitious. It’s a beautiful soundtrack for a warm moonlit night. “Horizon” is a kick-drum delight of what seems out of reach but you realize has been next to you the entire time.

The choice of “Navigator” to end the album acts as a perfect sway-along finish. The players are older and it shows, topics of understanding what they have, not what they want, describes the maturity of the late twenty-somethings. They know they have a smooth road ahead and don’t need any need direction...for now.

  • Album: Atlas
  • Artist: Real Estate
  • Label: Domino
  • Songs: (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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