Real Estate – Atlas
Last album Days seemed to unexpectedly catapult Ridgewood, New Jersey natives Real Estate to the top table of American indie. Atlas largely follows a similar path, regenerating mellow Big Star jangling and harmonies, and sure, it’s cute enough, but it’s not much of a thrill ride.
Lead-off single Talking Backwards and the likes of Horizon and Navigator are certainly pretty, but when you’re looking for tracks such as Crime or The Bend to truly soar, they simply sigh, with Martin Courtney's wistful vocals and inoffensive guitar mooching along at the same pace.
Atlas will find its place, undoubtedly in the collections of Teenage Fanclub aficionados, but for all the joy that sunny indie pop can bring to our hearts, others have been here before and just done it a little better than Real Estate. One of life’s greatest frustrations can be a pleasant record that you know, deep down, ought to be offering you more. [Stu Lewis]