Real Estate
In Mind



by timbo8 USER (49 Reviews)
February 18th, 2018 | 2 replies

Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Real Estate's fourth album is perfectly pleasant. Is it alright if it's nothing more than that?

The world spins madly on, and Real Estate remain as chill and pleasant as ever. Since 2009, the suburb-repping New Jersey band have made guitar-centric indie pop that disarms in its supremely easygoing demeanor. Lyrically, it hasn't all been rosy; Real Estate has always been wary of the march of time, innocence lost and "remember when." But musically, on their latest album In Mind, the band still sounds as carefree as backyard badminton. But this leaves the question: Is the trodden path fine if it's enjoyable, or are we missing a more interesting scenic route?

In Mind is Real Estate's first album without founding member Matt Mondanile. While the split was originally described as amicable, with Mondanile supposedly wanting to focus exclusively on his solo Ducktails project, it turns out Mondanile was fired for alleged serial mistreatment of women. In Mind was recorded between Mondanile's departure (May 2016) and when his pattern of abuse was made public (October 2017). All of this is to say that the album was realized without Mondanile as a distraction in the studio, but before the media uproar. In fact, for whatever tumult his rightful departure caused the band, nothing on In Mind gives it away.

The short version of this review is that In Mind is a Real Estate album that sounds like a Real Estate album. Shimmery, pretty, dreamy, lightly psychedelic, wistfully nostalgic but upbeat overall. The warm suburban jangle pop that Real Estate have embraced since their self-titled 2009 debut has taken a few meanders over the years but has largely stayed in the same channel.

As a kind of indie rock easy-listening, Real Estate is still consistent and capable four albums in. Lead single "Darling" is a light breeze of a song with shimmering, cascading guitar. The groovy "Holding Pattern" is the album's standout with some lovely guitar work, especially in the bridge, by Julian Lynch. Singer and now sole band leader Martin Courtney brings his usual understated, subdued vocals to each track. The headscratcher of the mix might be "Diamond Eyes," written and sung by bassist Alex Bleeker. It's a friendly, almost childlike tune that is also a vague call to protest, a bit like a slice of utopian '60s anti-war folk. Its naive tone is a far cry from the intensity of our American political times (it was recorded in summer 2016, pre-election).

In Mind is full of Real Estate's signature charm and melodic sweetness, but it's worth thinking about where the band, now in its fourth album and following a significant lineup change, is going with this overall sound. In Mind is a comfortable blur of an album, less interested in traversing new terrain than just enjoying another leisurely lap around the park. On the other hand, perhaps it's just enough to enjoy Real Estate's persistent suburban affability; a simple balm in complicated, stressful times.

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user ratings (124)

Comments:Add a Comment 
February 24th 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

i really enjoyed this. real estate get a lot of criticism for not changing their sound but when they do it so well idk why you'd want them to. i'd rather look forward to a predictable but really well-written album every 2-3 years than be disappointed by a misguided change in style.

having said that, if they switch their sound up but pull it off i'll be very pleasantly surprised.

April 18th 2022


Disappointing after the remarkable craft of Atlas. I’ve always felt the band lost something when Matt mondanile departed, there was a chemistry between him and Martin Courtney when playing that has not been rekindled with Julian Lynch.

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