My Top 20 Songs of 2011 #14: Real Estate – ‘It’s Real

“Wo-oh-ah”. A sound that so often sends a chill into my heart. A sound that will fairly regularly be found propping up tired stadium rock, bellowed out by crotch-thrusting, wank-badgers of men. However, it’s a sound that Real Estate have flipped onto its head and used to incredible effect on ‘It’s Real’. Suddenly that same sound feels ethereal and wistful, the vocal almost pleading.

‘It’s Real’ is exactly the sort of melancholic summery record for which I am an absolute sucker. It’s understated pop that sounds effortless. It feels as though it was probably written and recorded in one take on a balmy Saturday afternoon. However, it’s obvious when listening to the song (and the album) that this is perfectly crafted stuff – it’s the kind of effortlessness that, paradoxically, only comes with relentless rehearsing. 

This is the same sort of faux-insouciance that made people fall in love with The Strokes in 2001. Real Estate are different to The Strokes – they seem more likely to be found drinking cold beers on a balcony in Brooklyn, than propping up dive bars in Manhattan – but they have that same mellifluous, laid-back, supine attraction that made The Strokes such an exciting proposition when ‘Is This It’ was released*.

From the moment the record kicks off and the guitars start to jangle and chime, it sounds gorgeous. Real Estate know their way around a hook and it’s beguiling to hear old hoary rock clichés made to sound so fresh.

* It’s well worth checking out Real Estate’s cover of ‘Barely Legal’. It takes the original version’s disaffected insistence and turns it into a Proustian rush of reminiscence. It’s perfect for anyone, like me, who has fond memories of the summer of 2001 when ‘Is This It’ came out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: