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Album Picks: Real Estate, Twin Sister, M83

Posted by Billy Gil, October 18, 2011 02:10pm | Post a Comment
Real Estate DaysReal Estate – Days
 
Real Estate have helped usher in a contemporary appreciation of bands with clean guitars and hushed vocals, perfect for a summer day or autumn night. But Real Estate still do it better than anyone, as they prove on Days. From opener “Easy” and on, Days floats on breezy simplicity of melody and atmosphere that you could explain away as through line of Byrds by way of R.E.M. jangle pop informed by reverbed-out, dream pop aesthetics, but that would paint Real Estate as a throwback band when really their sound is their own. Country hues underpin even the spaciest of tracks, like the way winsome sliding guitars sway beneath the shivering, tremoloed star-shooting guitar lines of “Green Aisles,” and more obviously so on tracks like the springy, Smithsy “It’s Real,” which works some clever chord changes into a straightforward guitar-pop setting. Singer Martin Courtney’s voice is always plaintive but never intrusive, and the whole thing moves with subtle evocation, like a sepia-toned suburban home movie reel. It’s no coincidence a great, sunlit song on the album is titled “Wonder Years.”
 
Twin SisterTwin Sister – In Heaven
 
Twin Sister’s debut full-length delivers a band still emerging from chrysalis (their average age is now about 23, so says Wikipedia) but born with some pretty impressive power already. Roughly, Twin Sister are an indie pop band fronted by some froggish, androgynous vocals (singer vocalist Andrea Estella and guitarist-singer Eric Cardona both sound a little like the spawn of Sigur RosJonsi and St. Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell, the latter band of which they also sound a bit like on the lite-jazzy “Stop”). They touch on chillwave (the shimmering and strange chords of “Kimmi in a Rice Field” is the album’s absolute highlight) without committing to it, seemingly more interested in vibing late ’80s indie and video game music — the gentle “Luna’s Theme” has Sega Genesis written all over it, something that might be playing in some anime space station. But whatever Twin Sister ends up doing —be it cool Britpop, neo-futuristic electro or something else entirely — it ends up sounding great, if not entirely unified.
 
M83 Hurry Up We're DreamingM83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
 
After a decade’s worth of brilliant albums that have been increasingly epic in scope, Anthony Gonzalez of M83 has delivered the masterpiece he has hinted at for years. Gonzalez builds off the life-embracing yet ’80s nostalgic pop of 2008’s Saturdays=Youth across this double-album. Taking a hint from the Smashing PumpkinsMellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Gonzalez sweeps through childlike wonder (the children’s story as Kraftwerkian computer-pop of “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire”), adolescent angst (the two and a half minutes of skyscraper-sized orchestral rock in “My Tears Are Becoming a Sea”) and young adult excitement (Gonzalez cries “The city is my church!” in the neon-backlit “Midnight City”) to capture the wide-eyed energy and naiveté of youth. There’s newly an emphasis on the kind of shuffling ‘80s funk-pop of the likes of Huey Lewis & the News and Hall & Oates in songs like “Claudia Lewis,” but it actually feels less throwback-ish than some of his previous work, perhaps in part due to contemporaries like Toro y Moi and Neon Indian similarly fusing such sounds with shoegazer aesthetics. Indeed, with the kinds of sonic dreamscapes of albums like Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts and Before the Dawn Heals Us also in tow on songs like “This Bright Flash,” Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming presents us with all of Gonzaelz’s best tendencies, all at once, and at their utmost potential.

Relevant Tags

Twin Sister (1), M83 (10), Real Estate (8), The Smiths (34), R.e.m. (5), The Byrds (6), St. Etienne (2), Sigur Ros (16), Jonsi (5), Shoegaze (24), Indie Pop (3), Smashing Pumpkins (15), My Bloody Valentine (31), Toro Y Moi (9), Neon Indian (3), Huey Lewis & The News (3), Hall & Oates (9), Kraftwerk (13)