Real Estate: Daniel [Album Review]

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Real Estate
Domino [2024]

Album Overview: Daniel is the sixth full-length album by Real Estate, recorded in nine days at RCA Studio A in Nashville with producer Daniel Tashian (Kacey Musgraves). It marks a return to the band’s roots while incorporating newfound maturity and self-acceptance. The album features 11 soft and tuneful songs that blend the uninhibited direction of their early work with the perspective of adulthood. Daniel faithfully meets your expectations of a Real Estate album all the way through!

Musical Style: Real Estate’s musical style on Daniel is characterized by pleasant indie rock shuffles that reflect a suburban boredom. The album features shimmering guitars, plaintive verses, and tight hooks, creating an atmosphere of melancholic beauty. The band incorporates elements of classic pop and soft-rock radio, with subtle touches of Nashville influence.

Evolution of Sound: Over the course of their career, Real Estate has evolved from their early, effortlessly melodic sound to explore darker colors and longer song structures. With Daniel, they return to their roots while incorporating the wisdom and experiences gained over 15 years as a band. The album represents a refined version of their signature sound, with added depth and maturity. Daniel really does sound like a natural next step for Real Estate.

Artists with Similar Fire: Bands and artists that share similarities with Real Estate’s sound on Daniel include The War on Drugs, Beach Fossils, Deerhunter, and Alex G. Introspection and nostalgia is almost the expectation within this indie rock genre.

Pivotal Tracks: “Haunted World” is a great throwback sounding track that features chiming guitars and plaintive verses that harken back to the band’s early sound, with dexterous instrumental harmonies in the chorus. “Water Underground” has one of the catchiest choruses on the album as the imagery of water symbolizes both a source of cool relief and a metaphor for deeper understanding. “Airdrop” has an excellent busy bassline and insistent drums, with a wistful chorus that captures Real Estate’s craftsmanship.

Lyrical Strength: The lyrics depict a journey through various emotional and existential themes, encapsulating experiences of change, longing, introspection, and the complexities of relationships within different settings and states of mind. From the introspective musings of “Somebody New” to the haunting atmosphere of “Haunted World,” the longing in “Flowers,” and the reflective moments in “Interior” and “Freeze Brain,” the songs traverse landscapes of uncertainty and longing. They delve into the nuances of human connection, the search for meaning, and the acceptance of the present moment, culminating in a portrayal of life’s cyclical nature and the interconnectedness of existence in “You Are Here.”

In Mind (2017) / Atlas (2014) / Days (2011) / Reality EP (2010) / Real Estate (2009)

Magic Sign (2022) / Many Moons (2015)

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Christopher Anthony
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