Atlas is the third long player from New Jersey natives Real Estate, dreamy with a Byrd's like twelve string jangle Real Estate are classic purveyors of melodic laid back indie pop. This album continues to build on those foundations established on their previous releases, the instrumentation is becoming more dense with tinges of psychedelia creeping in. What hasn't changed is the great songwriting, there are songs that resonate with the uncertainty of our journey through life, lyricist Martin Courtney is always in a reflective headspace and to me that is where great music emerges from. Had to Hear opens the album on a reflective note, turning your back on your old life and going out there alone,
I don't need the horizon to tell me where the sky ends
It's a subtle landscape where I come from
I'm out again on my own
A reflection in the chrome
Of an adding machine
It's been so long
I call you up
Past Lives is about the rapid changes that happen in our own lives and that of our communities in general, the idea that nothing stands still and only the memory can be captured, life is always moving, flowing. The dreamy nature of those guitars creates a mirror to view the past,
I can not come back to this neighbourhood
Without feeling my own age
I walk past these houses where we once stood
I see past lives but somehow you're still here.
Talking Backwards has a somewhat reserved desperation, there is an ache but it's very gently expressed. The concept of words expressed that don't mean anything, that don't come out as intended, that aching gap that results.
When that night was over
And the field was lit up bright
And I walked home with you
Nothing I said came out right
And I might as well be talking backwards
Am I making any sense to you
And the only thing that really matters
Is the one thing I can't seem to do.
The Bend musically has less of the whimsy of the other songs on the album, it's more intense. It's a reflection on the year about to depart, have we really lost another year? How do we make sense of what has been?
Have I not been crude
Or do I sound insincere
I'm just trying to make sense of this
Before I lose another year
It's all that I can do.
Crime is about the crippling anxiety we can feel about our lives, wanting to have a life fulfilled and happy our expectations sometimes, often unmatched by reality. The influences of this album are not necessarily worn on the sleeve, the jangling guitars have the Byrds feel, there is also a left of centre pop influence reminiscent of Big Star.