Album Review: Real Estate’s ‘Atlas’

Smith Galtney

Four stars

Real Estate Atlas

Real Estate’s sophomore release, 2011’s Days, is easily this decade’s worst-sounding best album. Through a laptop, the Jersey band’s super-relaxed, jingle-jangle indie pop sounded mighty wimpy and unengaged. Blasting it in a car was a little better, but the foggy production still made you feel left out, like everything was happening two apartments down the hall. You kept listening, though, because that’s what great albums make you do.

The terrific news is that all and nothing has changed with Atlas. As the opening notes of “Had to Hear” chime in, it’s clear somebody finally learned how to mic a studio properly. Everything else, thankfully, is pretty much the same: more loping pop melodies backed by twin-guitar and the twin vocals of Matt Mondanile and Martin Courtney, plus another irresistible instrumental break (“April’s Song”). It’s Days: New and Improved, basically, and you should introduce yourself.

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