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New Jersey’s Real Estate are one of the finest bands out there today. Their laid back vibe and crisp guitar work are staples of the Real Estate sound. It’s no surprise lead singer Martin Courtney’s debut solo record, Many Moons, was one of the most laid back and clean-sounding records of 2015.
Courtney is the latest of the Real Estate crew to release a record as a side-project. Bassist Alex Bleeker released a jammy, Grateful Dead influenced record with his band Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, guitarist Matt Mondanile released his dreamy record St. Catherine with his project Ducktails. Courtney, however, sticks to the Real Estate formula on Many Moons, and adds some new and old fashioned elements to the sound.
Many Moons starts out with that unmistakable Martin Courtney guitar jangle on “Awake”. Right from the start, you have dreamy vocals from Courtney and a really stellar laid back guitar solo that is perfect for the vibe. “Vestiges” has that laid back vibe, coupled with great harmonies, and some really awesome drumwork. Lyrically, Courtney creates vivid imagery of suburbia.
While the record does seem very Real Estate at times, there’s times where Courtney seemingly dials back in time and dives into some really great 60s and 70s psychedelic or guitar pop, the hook in “Northern Highway” is a perfect example. The title track, too, a really gorgeous instrumental that is a real throwback treat. “Asleep” has some wicked guitar effects similar to something you’d hear on a Beatles record. “Little Blue” has a killer bass line and harmonies. Many Moons come to a close with “Airport Bar”, which is a dreamy track about change, like much of the album. At the end, he refrains “Please, don’t go forgetting about me”.
Martin Courtney’s solo debut is a beautiful, a kind of low-key Real Estate but it’s also warm and inviting. Courtney paints vivid imagery with his lyrics and a laid back, dreamy vibe with his guitar work. Of course, it would have been interesting to hear Courtney do something a bit more different, but this is where he really thrives, and the sound he achieved here is really fantastic. If you’re a Real Estate fan, be sure to check this one out.
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