It feels like a beautiful irony that Real Estate rehearsed for their new record In Mind in a high school in upstate New York, considering it is their most grown up record to date and is, in many ways, an album about growing up. The indie rockers have matured with In Mind in subject matter and sound, though they remain masters of melody and harmony. The serene quality of In Mind gives the impression that the guys are at peace with themselves and it offers us our own peace of mind as we listen.
In Mind moves at a slow and steady pace, allowing for the details and sonic nuances to really soak in. Subtle warping of guitars and keys give it a vintage feel, but it also creates a trippy sound making it the ideal zone-out experience. For instance, “Two Arrows”, a song about being aimless, is the perfect song to be aimless to, wandering with nowhere to be. Even the lyrics tell us there’s no need to rush: “Although I know we go/I know not when,” lead vocalist Martin Courtney sings softly. And we give ourselves over to this feeling completely and gratefully, especially when the nearly seven-minute song’s tail end becomes a repetitive and hypnotic instrumental that essentially feels like looking through a kaleidoscope before ending with an abrupt fuzziness.
The sweetness of Real Estate is intact throughout In Mind, particularly on “Darling” and “White Light”. The harmonies on these tracks are some of the album’s loveliest. On “Darling”, Courtney sings of the virtues of patience while finding pure pop synth bliss, and on “White Light”, he finds the standout in a crowd; the calm in the chaos with a catchy chorus that shimmers and glides. Both are enchanting, dulcet love songs like only Real Estate can craft.
“Serve the Song” and “Holding Pattern” explore the restlessness that comes with domesticity. And though both are zen in sound, there is an antsy feeling in Courtney’s songwriting, a kind of dulled anxiety. In Mind also finds Real Estate experimenting with some seriously spaced out guitar jams. The confidence of this record is impressive and indicative of things to come as they continue to mine new territory and embrace life’s endless changes.