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15th November 2011

Interview: Real Estate

Easy to admire but hard to love.

Thomas McMahon was on hand to meet Real Estate guitarist Matthew Mondaline as the New Jersey fivesome prepared for their gig at Salford’s Islington Mill.

TM: What’s it like returning to England for a second tour with the band?
MM: We like it, we’re very excited to play Manchester tonight then London tomorrow.

TM: A lot of people are saying the new album is cleaner and more focussed, was that a conscious decision by the band?
MM: Yeah, we wanted everything to be higher quality, which involved quite a lot of hard work in the studio.

TM: So was it a stereotypical ‘difficult second album’?

MM: Not quite, a lot of the songs were already written, plus we spent a long time between our first and second album.

TM: You’ve recently switched label from Woodsist to Domino, what inspired that move?

MM: Well, they offered us a really good record deal on a bigger label. Plus, they’re based in London which should mean we can play over here more often.

Live: Real Estate @ Islington Mill
October 24th
3 stars 

Real Estate’s apparently pre-anointed passage to the indie pantheon stumbled under the concrete ceiling of Salford’s Islington Mill after an underwhelming live performance. An enthusiastic audience, possibly enticed by a string of reviews lauding sophomore album Days, was left unconvinced by a string of passable psych-pop strumalongs.

The set started promisingly, with opener ‘Municipality’ showing the band’s technical proficiency and knack for crafting delicate melodies. Recent single, ‘It’s Real’, also proved a highlight, with the rhythm section playing tightly and with admirable energy. However, the set soon became bogged down in repetitive surf-influenced riffs, with lead singer Martin Courtney’s underpowered vocals often drowning in a swollen sea of feedback and reverb. The band’s spirited cover of Felt’s ‘Sunlight Bathed the Golden Glow’, meanwhile, merely highlighted the Americans’ poor lyrics in comparison to the Birmigham new wave outfit.

While every member of the band played with genuine skill, Real Estate nevertheless proved themselves to be a group which is easy to admire but hard to love. Throughout the set, the five-piece showed neither the earnest conviction of fellow New Jerseyans such as Titus Andronicus and Vivian Girls nor the pop sensibilities of superior beach bums such as Surfer Blood. As heads slowly nodded but feet remained fixed to the floor, this malaise was reflected in the crowd.

Real Estate – Municipality

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