Real Estate: In Mind (2017)
Over the course of the past decade, Real Estate have been remarkably consistent, each of their four albums (and a like-minded solo album by singer Martin Courtney) providing a relaxing blend of '70s laid back singer-songwriter stylings, '80s indie jangle, and more contemporary freak folk. I can't really pick a favorite, as the formula is pretty much the same across the discography (at least since the rawer sounding debut) -- indeed, while the band's co-founding lead guitarist departed before this one was recorded, the sound remains relatively unchanged.
And I do love that sound. Admittedly, most of their music is more background vibe than crank-up-the-volume attention-getting, but that's not a bad thing. Like the predecessors, the album does offer a pretty catchy, more single-friendly tune -- in this case, the superb "Stained Glass," a gorgeous bit of melody and harmonies that calls to mind Teenage Fanclub. It's the sort of song that demands you put it on every mix tape you make (ok, playlist, but I still believe in mix tapes!). "Holding Pattern" is another fave, this one a more mellow seventies-type tune that you could imagine showing up on an early Todd Rundgren album, but still distinctive. And "White Light," "Diamond Eyes." and "Same Sun" move at a nice clip as well, quietly insinuating their hooks.
But mostly this is pretty mid/down-tempo, pleasant guitar jangles with a folky or jazzy feel (at times calling to mind The Sea & Cake), ideal for leaning back on the couch as the sunlight starts to fade in the late afternoon. (See also: Kingsbury Manx.) The production on this one is pretty nice as well, giving the music a bit more oomph and brightness than the earlier releases, but still wholly unobtrusive.
Here's the video for "Stained Glass" (and what a great freakin' video it is!):