EP Review – Half a Human by Real Estate (2021) (Domino Recording Co. Ltd)


If there could ever be the slightest, guilt-riddled, semi-criticism, about the previous Real Estate output, it could be (said in embarrassed tones in fear of obvious reprisals from their rage addled fans) that their sound can be overly consistent in it’s, somewhat precise, sense of gorgeous.
With lockdown affording them more time and the process of cyber swapping files between members perhaps, allowing a more unrestricted collaborative input, this EP feels a tad more experimental and despite the negative connotations of the word, it all works to provide a perfect sense of intra release ying to the always gorgeous yang.
As such the experimental tracks commence with the opening Desire Path. This instrumental is laced with threadbare, fluttering jangle, that is as beautiful as it is unobtrusive. As twee as Real Estate could possibly ever be, the sound is reminiscent of the earliest of the Remington Super 60 back catalogue.
Other atypical tracks are heard in the dulcet, subjugated jangled riffs of D+ which feels like The Bats arriving at a particularlyplayful moment and the glorious groove-laden bass strains that are woven through the washed out, lo-fi jangly vibe of Ribbon.
Thankfully the gorgeous dreamy melodies and harmonies of the Real Estate core sound are still very much present in the title track, Soon and the superlative stand out, In The Garden. However, there undoubted qualities just seem to pop more when surrounded by the apposite sounds.
There has never been and probably will never be, a Real Estate release that has/will ever drift(ed) the wrong way from brilliant. However, there is just something a bit abstract about thIS release that not only adds interest and intrigue, but also hints at endless future possible musical forays to explore, which is unusual for an act that are well into their second decade.



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