FOR A SONG about miscommunication, the video for Real Estate's new single Talking Backwards is remarkably direct. It starts with a road trip from their home in Ridgewood, New Jersey to Chicago, where their third LP, the forthcoming Atlas, was recorded at Wilco’s studio, The Loft. What follows is a gentle, unassuming glimpse of a band in the studio – clearly thrilled to be there, plying its superior capabilities into the service of a bright, swooning pop song that takes full advantage of its spacious sonic setting while resisting the temptation to show off.
“Their dual guitars ripple and shimmer beguilingly.”
Their dual guitars ripple and shimmer beguilingly as Real Estate singer-guitarist Martin Courtney spins a melody so whistle-able Jeff Tweedy himself could be their milkman, while the bittersweet lyrics balance the song’s inner frustrations with an external, Byrds-like poise. In fact, it’s a whole two-and-a-half minutes before the camera can’t resist pulling back to reveal Lou Barlow lookalike Courtney keening winsomely under some nice Wilco artworks.
All this tasteful vérité has to end somehow, and they finish as they began, by downing tools and getting back in the car. But what is that that hoves into focus at 2 mins 59, hanging significantly from the rearview mirror? Is it a toy snake, or someone’s dreadlock, or a souvenir filched from Wilco’s bathroom? Decide for yourself...
Atlas will be released on March 3 on CD, LP and digitally. iTunes pre-orders come with an instant download of Talking Backwards. A limited edition deluxe LP with a bonus 7” will also be available from some independent stores and through Domino Mart.