In stark contrast to the previous¬†entry I wrote (TEEN’s The Way and Color), Real Estate plays it straight. What you hear is exactly what they laid down live in the studio, having rehearsed for six months to develop and perfect the songs. Like a painter working with limited colors, they’ve challenged themselves to achieve variety within the confines of a minimal sonic palette; the overall vibe is consistent (gentle, dreamy, introspective, summery), but on closer inspection each song is unique, memorable and catchy, with the coloration differences coming in subtle touches. The songwriting is their best yet and the recording is full of space, allowing each instrument to breathe and be heard. Holds up equally well as pleasant background music or under the close scrutiny of headphones. “Past Lives” hardly seems like human beings made it manifest in the physical world; it’s so effortless that it’s more like being inside the singer’s head, hearing the soundtrack to his internal reverie.

Buy it here.

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    Favorite Albums of 2014