Real Estate - 'The Main Thing'

7/10

Over the last decade, Real Estate's laid-back and wistful sound has become a key part of their identity and the scene they represent at large. With a string of mellow and sombre indie-rock releases littering their back catalogue, the band have always been ones to refine their formative aesthetic rather than look to reinvent it. But it seemed that personal circumstances and a lack of interest in their direction from members in the group led them to venture into new territory on this return, as their fifth full-length 'The Main Thing' is more about redefining themselves rather than simply repeat what has come before.

Despite the pretence surrounding this new collection, 'The Main Thing' is still very much a Real Estate record at its core. Switching onto the album's opener 'Friday', we are instantly transported back into their normal and comfortable guise, never feeling like the band has made much effort to distinguish this release from anything prior. But as the album plays, it is clear that 'Friday' was simply a final call to their old selves as the release slowly begins to morph into a more despondent and brooding affair in places. By the time 'Gone' comes on, we can clearly hear that they are beginning to try new ideas here and it makes for a thoroughly interesting listen.

It may not be the Real Estate record we were expecting but is still a broad and captivating adventure that twists and turns throughout. This almost feels like the trial ballon of their catalogue to date, mixing up their regular intentions with something a little different just to see how their fans and they themselves feel about it. A progressive left turn that still manages to stay true to itself nevertheless.

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