Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part One



17. Real Estate
Atlas
(Domino)

You have three or four striped sweaters. Most people would say they are identical. But you know one of them just feels like it fits best, is softest, makes you like yourself little bit more when you look in the mirror. Real Estate sound the way your favourite sweater feels. On Atlas, the band manage to create a sound that's infectious and immediately pleasing to the ear, somehow old despite being new.

Atlas is their cloudy day album, with a shrouded heart at its centre, full of questions and doubts. Martin Courtney and Matt Mondanile perform as the Morrissey and Marr of shoreline suburbs, capturing Instagram-ready moments of soft-focus angst (without all the Oscar Wilde verbiage) set to shimmering guitar lines. It's simple music, so smooth and liquid that, while engaging, is adaptable to any listening occasion. Despite being so incredibly catchy, the music works almost like an anti-earworm, creating a mood before evaporating from memory the moment the album ends, like a dream. But then you'll want to hit play and listen to it all over again. Even though you have three or four other albums that sound similar, this one just feels the best. (Eric Hill)