Real Estate by Sarah Whitlam


From one song to another, from one album to the next, Real Estate’s easy breezy pop sound remains unchanged, so why should its live show be any different? The band’s latest Vancouver gig offered fans exactly what they have come to expect from the New Jersey outfit: jangle, and lots of them.

The jangle-y sounds started early with openers the Shilohs, who have been touring North America with Real Estate. The local four-piece’s sound was a little twangier than the headliner’s sleepy blur, but it made for a good primer for the night’s main event.

This show took place the same day that Real Estate released its latest album, Atlas, and frontman Martin Courtney greeted the crowd by saying, “This is our record release party. This is it.”

The band then proceeded to play a string of blissed out dream-pop tunes, each one anchored by steady mid-tempo rhythms and overlaid with chiming dual guitars from Courtney and Matt Mondanile (who also performs as Ducktails). The five-piece lineup included a keyboardist, although the guitars mostly drowned out his contributions.

The band performed cuts from all three of its albums, with highlights including the expansive “Green Aisles” (from 2011’s Days) and the sun-soaked “Beach Combers” (from 2009’s Real Estate). A touch of country worked its way into the band’s sound when Courtney picked up an acoustic guitar for the Atlas standout “Talking Backwards,” and Mondanile and bassist Alex Bleeker each took a brief turn on lead vocals.

Real Estate closed with a jammed out version of “All the Same,” bringing it to an ultra-slow finale. As always, this song sounded pretty much identical to the rest of the set, but Real Estate lends credence to the old cliché that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

By Horm Shep
Photos by Sarah Whitlam


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