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And so continues the tale of Real Estate. The band won't intrude on your life or get loud without warning. Its members have a handful of related projects you can use to expand your knowledge of the music, but most of it will trace back to the band's three great records. It's a kind world that Martin Courtney, Matt Mondanile, and Alex Bleeker inhabit. They'll take you on short trips around American towns and tropes, but they'll drop you back off at home when they're done and remind you that quality living comes from good friends and lovers. "I did not mean to interrupt/I did not mean to disturb you," says Courtney on the first chorus of the first song of his debut solo album. It's a phrase that could be inscribed on his tombstone.

Many Moons is a traveler's companion. It conjures tales of a long tour, and most of the lyrics focus on Courtney missing his loved ones back home. He won't tell you exactly how it makes him feel, resigning instead to dishing out concrete platitudes about his situation. Courtney assesses that some things change and some don't on 'Vestiges', a track that has an apparent structure which kindly introduces choruses after the verses and a guitar solo after the second chorus. He's letting his listeners down easy, but borders on over-simplification too often to elicit much of a reaction.

This is hardly the only song this occurs on. All but two share the same strumming acoustic guitar production. It works well on 'Awake'. Each part comes in with room to breathe, eventually landing on a solidly flowing bass and drum groove. Elsewhere, it doesn't fly. It isn't until track nine that the chording is finally ditched, but it's several songs earlier where it starts to get irritating. Courtney was joined by Woods' Jarvis Taveniere to make this production happen. He falls into a similar pitfall as the last Woods record did, where frontman Jeremy Earls' performances became exhausting with repetitive vocal styles. Sadly, Many Moons offers even less variety. There's a wealth of instrumentation that rounds out the sound, including a wonderfully beefed out string part on 'Before We Begin'. But, each piece sounds like it was recorded on a strictly hi-fidelity basis that's pleasantly absent on Taveniere's other credits. Many Moons is impeccable in this way, and lives in a place that's always practical and rarely inventive.

It's safe to say that Courtney and company were aware of all this. They placed the best two songs as the first and last as a cover up. Closer 'Airport Bar' reflects the awesome romps that Real Estate use to close their albums. A drum machine pushes the pace forward, the first percussive variety on the album, and magically breathes vigor into it despite its lifelessness. "I got in too deep when I was asleep/I thought I had it made" sings Courtney, and it's great that he's finally delivering lyrics that are up for a little interpretation. If I had to guess, I would say its literal sleep that he's discussing. After all, he's never been a guy to get to ahead of himself or waking reality. Many Moons is the fussy, neat feeling we already know of him. The only real change is that we now have to look deeper and listen more closely to invoke a powerful connection between artist and listener. If the songs were more engaging, this would be easier to do. However, they all resolve to their same base parts, and thus become more forgettable than the feelings Real Estate's best songs have conjured.

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