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Album Review: The Main Thing by Real Estate

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Real Estate, the indie rock band originally from New Jersey, return with their fifth album, The Main Thing. After having three back to back charting records, they had to set their priorities high for their fifth album.

The record starts out with Friday. This track might pay homage to the end of In Mind since the last track was titled Saturday. However, it could be a total coincidence and has no connection with the last track on In Mind. This track features Real Estate's signature, laid back sound that you will hear throughout the album. The track eventually is washed out to what sounds like some percussion instrument in the background.

Paper Cup was definitely a surprise since it featured another artist, Sylvan Esso, and has a different sound compared to the usual "Real Estate" sound. However, it's not bad that they want to branch out and experiment with their sound since this is their fifth studio album. This was their first single for the album, and the music video was... interesting to say the least.

Gone returns us to the normal Real Estate flow as you might call it. It is also one of the more memorable tracks on the album in my opinion. The track definitely has a darker tone than usual for the band. The track focuses on the concept of time and how time keeps going. You can keep doing the same things every day, which leads to time dragging on, or you can keep things interesting and change things up.

Now Real Estate brings us back with it a more upbeat and up-tempo track called You. The melodic guitars and sweet vocals in the background add some depth to the track. During the chorus, it talks about memories, while the verses talk about the difference between dreaming and being awake. However, there isn't really anything that memorable about this track, besides the guitar solo towards the end. As I've said before, you just get stuck in the "Real Estate" vibe and there's nothing that separates it from other tracks.

After that, we come to November. This is surprisingly one of the shorter tracks of the album, but definitely more memorable than the last track. It's a little frustrating that it's shorter since it's one of my favorite off the album. The vocalist is reminiscing about when they were nineteen and the different memories he created when he was that age.

Next, we have Falling Down. Instrumentally and vocally, there isn't really anything new or unusual about this track. However, the piano adds a nice touch to the track. Also, the violins are a nice touch to the instrumental break towards the end of the track.

Also A But marks the longest track on the album. It also brings in another vocalist instead of the normal higher pitched vocalist. Based on the lyrics of this track, this is really just a up in a headspace type of track. I would imagine if you are in the right mindset, this track might sound a bit better.

We finally get to the title track, The Main Thing. Just like another track on this album, it's a little disappointing that this track is so short. This track is just under three minutes, but it's a great, catchy, upbeat track. Basically, the artist is saying that no matter what happens, he will stay true to himself and others. There's also a great guitar solo towards the end of the track. I also feel like the track ends on a cliff hanger since he didn't finish the guitar lick.

Shallow Sun brings you back to the encapsulating guitars and the usual Real Estate groove. The twangy high-pitched guitars almost have a vocal-like effect during the verses of this track. I had to listen closely to make sure there wasn't a female vocalist in the background. Other than that, the track reminisces about when they were young and how much they have changed. They tried to hold on to their 20s, but now that's over with.

The next track, Sting, is a short, instrumental interlude track. It's interesting since the drumbeat on this track sounds like it is in the distance and almost like it was recorded in another room. However, it really is the highlight of the track and smoothly runs into the next track, Silent World. It's a fun track that has a fun bass line. It's a pretty simple bass line, but I enjoy it for some reason. The guitars at the end are also a plus.

Next, we have Procession. The guitars have a little more of a psychedelic feeling to it than some of the previous tracks. However, I am not seeing anything new and the track seems bland and boring compared to some of the other tracks.

The last official track (besides the Paper Cup Edit) from the album is Brother. I thought it was strange to end the album with an instrumental, but it is quite calming and relaxing after the entirety of the album. It feels like it would be a perfect track to play when watching the sunset at the end of the day while you're by the ocean.

Overall, it's nice to see Real Estate branch out a little bit from their usual sound. However, it does seem like they are running out of ideas. Several times throughout the album, I just feel like I'm stuck in the "Real Estate Vibe," but I'm not hearing anything different or unique. At least with some of the tracks I have heard on their other albums, there is something unique or memorable about them. On this album, I feel like there are quite a few tracks that aren't memorable and don't stick with me. Hopefully this is just a small bump in the road and they come back stronger with their next album.
Overall Rating: 5/10
Favorite Tracks: Paper Cup, Gone, November, The Main Thing, Shallow Sun

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