Martin Courtney
Martin Courtney

Martin Courtney ‘Many Moons’ – ALBUM REVIEW

This Martin Courtney article was written by Mark Steele, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Gavin Wells

They say as a frontman steps out to deliver a solo album, they are scrutinised not merely by their own merit, but also how they bear fruit on a seemingly solitary endeavour. With his new solo step of faith, Martin Courtney of Real Estate has played against the family recipe that defined his established band over three recordings. He decided not on enlisting duo, guitarist Matt Mondanile and bassist Alex Bleeker – both busy with different projects, Mondanile with Ducktails and Bleeker with Freaks.

He has called in already savvy Real Estate Keyboardist Matt Kallman, the art-pop experimentalist Julian Lynch and lo-Fi band Woods’ own Mr Jarvis Taveniere to aid in crafting the ten song selection.

Many Moons advances cohesively from the last Real Estate album ‘Atlas’. The notable ingredients include the lush orchestration, plus withdrawal the institutional reverb of Real Estate, the resulting filtration is a purely effective and simplistic layer cake.

Effortlessly recognised influencers include The Byrds, America, next to the given Big Star, the melting pot concoction fuses 60’s psych and 70’s power pop smothered in West Coast sun soaked harmonic sensibilities. Take into consideration the clear vocal melody style, the jangly guitar, dampened bass and compressed drum sound. Carefully stirred within are string arrangements with pinches of a mellotron.

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The instrumental title carried by a cheerful rustic flute melody, with warmhearted strings. highlights include ‘Northern Highways’ mulls over like a mid-era Beatles tour log, ’Vestiges’ – could have been a lost ditty of singer/songwriter David Gates – see also ‘Little Blue’, lyrically implying the futility of people and places, in particular the phrase “This place is like a column of Stone/many moons for it to grow/phases they will come and they will go”, there is a hazy oddity in the passport picture obsessive ‘Foto’, and final track ‘Airport Bar’ picks up the pace and yet has a jet lagged limbo introspection.

In keeping with theme, each track sends itself out as existential soundbites portraying Courtney’s life path transitions with reflective ponderings and musings of the mind. If recognised as an unofficial fourth album, it could still divide some existing Real Estate fans and could indeed garner new ones as time will tell.

‘Many Moons’ is out now via Domino Recording Co.

Martin Courtney 'Many Moons'