Real Estate return for another dreamy, soft-surf rock record that continues to reinforce their ever-present stereotype for being everyone’s favorite background music band.
Nothing that the group showcases on this record is inherently bad by any means. The mundane nature only appears in the context of the previous albums, in which little creative evolution seems to have occurred from the first release to this point. Needless to say, I would not recommend this record to any first time listeners of the band.
In Mind feels like the weakest addition to the band’s existing collection. It is as if every track on this album is borrowing techniques from some of their catchier tunes but in a way that feels almost too complacent; like the band understands their place as coffee shop ambiance aficionados.
Real Estate’s lyrics haven’t improved either and in some ways, are beginning to develop a level of corniness that is difficult to sit through when focusing too hard on what is being said. Still, this record is not completely barren of quality
Naming off the good characteristics of this collection, there are a few tracks that stand out amidst of the plagued list of rehash. “Darling” harkens back to the peppiness of the late track “Talking Backwards”, featured on the 2014 record Atlas. The washy tone of the guitars in the bridge section has a mildly soothing effect that can be enjoyed without a doubt. “Serve the Song” is another decent track and features a duet between the vocals and guitar that builds into a sort-of-awesome solo towards the end of the song.
“Two Arrows” is an example of a song that could have been so much more. With its trotting pace and entrancing vocal harmonies, the song builds to a solid wall of disappointment once the hook begins its repeating riff that amounts to a distortion climax that feels about as forced as the abrupt cut that ends the track.
Other lackluster moments exist in “Time”, a completely directionless slurred islander tune that includes another set of mundane lyrics that can’t even pass as filler. I would probably like this track a little bit more if it were only an instrumental.
Digressing, In Mind feels like a stalling point in Real Estate’s career, for now. If you have loved everything the group has put out thus far and are content with hearing more of the same then this album might be for you. For me, my honest opinion of this album is a 5.8/10.