Timothy van Sas
Timothy van Sas

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Real Estate - Leeds live at Brudenell 19th Feb

As two time winners of Bitchforks Best New Music’s award, (something which seems to carry more kudos than a Mercury, Grammy and Brit rolled into one) New Jersey’s Real Estate don’t need to do a whole lot on stage to curry favour with the hipsters who attend their shows. In a strange way thats a good thing, as tonight’s easy-going performance is the perfect reflection of their carefree sound. Under normal circumstances I would chastise a band for such inertia on stage, but if Real Estate were to perform in any other way it just wouldn’t fit.

If you’ve never heard Real Estate, a quick listen to any part of their discography would validate my view point. Their sound is heavily influenced by New Jersey forebears, the Feelies and is suffused with the warmth of a sunny afternoon. Where guitars hooks gently drift on the faintest wisps of air and hazy vocals recount stories of suburban life in America. In the context of Brudenell’s working man club furnishings they should sound alien, but instead the band offer tonights equally mellow crowd escapism from the last throws of a bitter winter. In return they applaud generously, reserving the bulk of their cheers for singles ‘Easy’ and ‘Green Aisles’ taken from the excellent new album Days.

Taking a closer look, it becomes obvious just how hard the band works to appear so carefree. The brunt of the heavy lifting is done by the bands rhythm section. Where Jackson Pollis beats the drums like a ginger step child and Alex Bleeker relentlessly nods like a dashboard mounted Elvis as he thumbs out the baselines. The two provide enough bounce to the hazy melodies, holding your attention without intruding on the relaxed atmosphere. This allows the interplay of singer/guitarist, Martin Courtney and guitarist, Matthew Mondanile to sound like the equivalent of two slackers having a contest to see who can look more contented whilst spread eagled on a sun lounger. The effect is extremely pleasant and had me recalling my own fondest memories of summer which on a cold Sunday night in Leeds is no mean feat.

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