While there appears to be some debate as to where exactly Real Estate are “from” – are they a Jersey band or a Brooklyn band? – their muted, heavily-reverbed surf sound certainly feels sunny and coastal. Well, it feels sunny and coastal at the surface. Beneath the super-clean, biting guitar arpeggios and often distant-sounding drums is a particularly mellow lilt. While slow and somber music is not by definition bad, these tunes don’t just lilt; they drag.
“Coming up on Fox 5 News at 10: Hipsters all across Williamsburg have been committing suicide at an alarming rate. Could a newly-released, wanna-be-surf-rock album be the cause? We’ll fill you in on the details after these messages.”
The first track, “Beach Comber,” is the only song on the album with any real kick. The four tracks that follow it seem to be a more accurate representation of the band: boring. “Fake Blues” has a semblance of a groove because the drums provide enough of a George of the Jungle rhythm that the track doesn’t fall flat on its face. But, the several songs after that continue in a similarly monotonous, hurry-up-and-die fashion as the ones that preceded. This dirty hipster isn’t going to waste too much of his or your time detailing just how this album fails, but he’ll gladly offer some opinions as to why there’s no point in shelling out $10 on iTunes for Real Estate.
Stereogum made some stink about how Titus Andronicus were in this band’s top friends on MySpace. I read this review (which was gleaming, for some reason) while listening to Real Estate and began to think about the relationship between New York (and her bands) and the national press. If there were one city that this dirty hipster would think would have the balls and the brains to boo a band like Titus Andronicus off stage, I though New York would be it. For one reason or another, TA continues to play in front of big crowds at Bowery Ballroom. Maybe we’re more polite than everyone thinks. Way more polite. TA seem to be at the forefront, or at least towards it, of a new wave of extremely unprofessional, unpolished, careless bands. Real Estate may the next in line to take the stage at Bowery and not only sing out of key, but bore the crowd half to death. Yet, as people show up, the journalists at 10,000 feet and beyond (Stereogum, Pitchfork and the like) assume that there must be something they’re missing, and they don’t want to be the ones who miss out on laying claim to have been responsible for breaking the next great act.
Can we do something about this, New York? Please?! There’s a lot of great music in this small ~15 mile radius. Why the fuck are we not only accepting but championing something as uninspired as Real Estate? I thought at one point during this record, “hey, this could be fun to have on while cooking!” But as the LP continued to drone on without offering so much as a melody (seriously, there are no melodies whatsoever – shocking), I began to realize that cooking with this record on would be awfully dangerous. Shit, you run the risk of passing out face down in a pot of boiling water only to be awoken by ecstasy in realizing the album had finally ended.
Whether you’re from New York or not, you’re better than this. It’s inexcusable to create a 10-track album that leaves nothing behind. There are no tunes to hum, no melodies to whistle, no beats to shake to. Real Estate’s latest release is a raggedly-constructed cobweb of reverb that leaves this dirty hipster crying, “NO MORE!” Grizzly Bear (though I personally prefer Department of Eagles) and Fleet Foxes deserve our attention. Real Estate, and the unbearable, Titus Andronicus, do not. -DFH