Real Estate, a preternaturally nostalgic, laid-back yet mildly at edge soft rock indie outfit from Ridgewood played their newest album in full last week in New York. Streamed live via NPR, the event was a gathering of sorts for press hipsterati and a number of lucky fans at downtown Manhattan’s new sleek but intimate performance venue, SubCulture.
The band’s sound echoed more a misty Sunday morning drive in California than might be anticipated from their Jersey roots. Singer Matt Courtney brought to the band’s new tunes his familiar warped-by-the-sun vocals swung like a hammock across a small outfit of shimmering behind-the-beat guitars. When considered against the pleasant reverb-kissed studio vocals, Courtney’s live voice is scratchy, parched.
Their first album in over two years, Atlas features a familiar sound but new lyric themes. “I cannot come back to this neighborhood without feeling my own age” chimes singer Courtney. It’s odd to be nostalgic when the past, present, and future seem almost indistinguishable – musically that is. Rather than move in new directions with their material, the band takes to old tricks, stretching time and not really going anywhere in particular.