Real Estate Atlas (2014) – Coog Radio – University of Houston Radio

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Track by track: real estate Atlas (2014)

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As the days continue to lengthen, the flowers begin to bloom, and the Texas warmth begins to return, the spring bloom is impossible to ignore, so it’s only fitting to associate this season with a scrapbook. equally radiant and gorgeous that has stood the test of time and created waves in the 2010s indie scene.

Real estate Atlas, released in March 2014, is the perfect companion for sunny spring afternoons. Filled with pristine and brilliant lead guitar melodies, crisp rhythm sections and beautifully harmonized vocals, Atlas offers the listener a melancholy soundscape that carries within it a faint glimpse of hope that can speak to almost anyone. Sitting across 10 tracks and lasting just over 38 minutes, this wondrous arrangement is sure to brighten your spring mood.

One of my off-disc favorites, “Had to Hear”, ushers us into the album with what will continue to be a constant throughout…a simple yet elegant rhythm guitar section that is ultimately built up by the accompanying instruments creating a perfectly synchronized ensemble. At the forefront of the song, Martin Courtney’s vocals share the spotlight with Mondanile’s playful lead melodies. I have always found it very inspiring how they are able to exchange the listener’s attention so eloquently.

“Past Lives” slows down a bit while depicting themes of nostalgia and revisiting places where one has had many memories, especially ones that have been shared with someone else.

“It’s not the same place I used to know anymore
But it still has that same old sound
And even the lights on this yellow road
Are the same as when it was our town”

It’s clear that Courtney’s lyrics were meant to be the focus of the song, as the vocals feature great layered harmonies, but the simple yet effective bassline and back and forth between the rest of the instruments are impossible to ignore. With a steady beat behind them, the guitars, bass, and synth section interchange in an almost conversational way, which honestly leaves me needing a slow dance.

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Their next track, “Talking Backwards” is the one I most identify with and stands as one of the best tracks on the album. As someone who grew up with a mild stuttering problem and still struggles to find the best words to say in conversation, “I might as well talk upside down. Do I have meaning for you? and “Nothing I said went right” often comes to mind. On top of that, the chorus is one of the catchiest on the album, so it’s always fun to sing along.

The Next Step is perhaps my favorite from the album because it combines a lot of what I love about music into one cohesive piece of music. As an instrumental, “April’s Song” lets the instruments do the EVERYTHING, and they really paint a picture of what a beautiful spring day in April is like without a single lyric. Chorus and reverb filled guitars work in tandem as Bleeker’s bass and Pollis’ drums set the pace perfectly accentuating every downbeat and driving the song forward, while Kallman’s keyboard so gently fills in the gaps in background, propelling every other instrument upwards.

Bleeker’s performance on bass is specifically part of the reason I chose a bass guitar because he showed me that the bass guitar can not only serve as the backbone of a song, but it can also make his own thing and play very melodic. This track really underscores the real strength of the real estate by showing off their immaculate production quality and wonderful arrangements. As the song draws to a close, it slowly begins to fade away until it reaches complete silence, making it impossible for their melodies not to play in your head even after the song is over. the song.

“Did I not be clear or did I sound insincere?” I’m just trying to make sense of it before I waste another year.” On “The Bend,” the band again mixes lyrics that would sound sad on their own, but the instruments bring a sense of optimism as Courtney expresses a lack of control over her own life and a failed relationship.

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Although it can be easy to miss, Pollis’ drumming is one of the most impressive performances as he skillfully plays exactly what the song needs at the time. Her fills aren’t flamboyant, they’re not overdone, they’re on point. The breakdown that leads us towards the end of the song is one of my favorite moments on the album because it contrasts with the rest of the song’s arrangement by slowing everything down and works like a killer outro.

Continuing the trend of pin-sharp drum performances and dreamy open chords, “Crime” is another standout track from the album, featuring the most catchy guitar hooks on the project. “I’m tossing and turning all night, not knowing how to fix things, crippling anxiety,” Courtney continues, describing the internal battles he faces after doing something he clearly regrets. One of my favorite things about this song is how it also features the best guitar solo on the album; Mondaline’s guitar rips showing an almost flawless lead guitar sound. The solo has great variety that always captivates the listener and is a great transition to the final chorus.

“I don’t know where I want to be, but I’m glad you’re with me” has always stuck with me since I first heard the song. “Primitive” features the album’s best vocal performance, combining multiple layers of Courtney’s vocals into what sounds like a mini choir. Again, the song does a fantastic job of not only allowing Courtney’s vocals to be front and center, but the lead guitar melodies as well. These don’t bombard the song with moves that would seem pretentious or wanting to show off and allow plenty of “breathing” between each phrase.

“How Might I Live” stands out from the rest of the album as the song was written and sung by bassist Alex Bleeker. While the song features tones the listener would already know from the rest of the album, Bleeker’s deeper vocals and slower pace certainly add a different feel from the rest of the album. I’m a huge fan of Bleeker on bass, this song doesn’t land at the top of my favorites list.

Indie estate veterans add a modern twist to their vintage sound with the stunning
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Continuing the theme of spring, “Horizon” again plays with the descriptive subject of the landscapes that surround it, the changing seasons, the “sprawling landscapes” and the desire of a loved one that he feels surprised to have to its ratings; the one he always thought would be “just above the horizon”. The world is a vast place with billions of people crossing it, but he managed to find the person for him.

The album ending “Navigator” stands out for me in that it uses an unconventional verse-chorus-chorus-verse format that you don’t really encounter often but which works well for the song. Its calm, soft tones offer the listener a sweet ending to the project, with lyrics that recall and romanticize the days before. Its descriptive imagery does a great job of sparking memories of a suburban lifestyle, even if you never really had one.

In all, Atlas serves as a great album to not only set the mood or mood for a suburban spring day, but its themes of lost loved ones, mortality, time and the changes that come with it are sure to be sobering. his own life after listening. The instrumentation has inspired me countless times and left me longing for music with a similar sound. It’s an album I’ve found myself constantly revisiting since its release, and it’s still one of the greatest indie albums of the 2010s.


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