The Northeast’s eyes are at half-mast this time of year — shorter days, trees bare and exposed, hibernation an acceptable “activity.” Real Estate’s buzzed-about debut speaks the language of the season, its slow sunset of sound flush with twinkling Stratocasters, drum kits that trot off into the distance, and anemic vocals that, as with Grizzly Bear or Beach House, magnify the fragility of it all.
The New Jersey quartet get off to a promising start early with the bouncy “Beach Comber” and the drowsy melody of “Suburban Dogs,” eking out an æsthetic marked by lo-fi charm and warm reverb. They evoke ho-hum, small-town life as they sing about rivers, pools, mutts, suburban beverages, and the profound axioms embedded in life’s monotony.
But as Real Estate grinds on, it settles into a monotony of its own, until you can hardly distinguish one hazy nod-off jam from another. Like the seasons, phases are nothing if not temporary — perhaps this big sleep of a debut will yield a bolder reawakening with the spring thaw.