Do you ever have that feeling when you see a particular artist name that you just go, "Yeah, that's a band name". This isn't a knock at anyone else or a compliment to anyone else either really, it's just that sometimes artists seem to go for the combination of "The" plus some word or just seemingly string some words together to make a band name. There are certainly a fair share of bad band names out there, definitely far outnumbered by the good ones, but when I see Great Estates I just think... Yeah, that's a band name.
The songs on this cassette called "Demos"- and, no, don't let the name fool you into thinking that the quality is subpar- have western guitars and an overall folk quality to start. The vibe right away is something between Animal Flag and The Lyndsay Diaries. With that, pieces of The Get Up Kids' "Walking On a Wire" comes out and before it's all said and done so does Neil Young. That just goes to show you how these songs manage to stay within the same general area but yet they aren't afraid to dance around in it.
It is also worth noting that there is a flute in here and that kind of adds to everything else but helps this to stand out on its own at the same time. The lyrical content varies from sad subjects. One of the songs mentions "Louder Than Bombs" by name, to the effect that you can't hear that album without thinking about her, and I can only assume that it is the album by The Smiths. I must give Great Estate props for being able to mention The Smiths without actually sounding like them because I've always felt like that was a thing.
In some ways I don't want to call Great Estates emo because they're really not, but I like to think that they are some kind of on-the-outside-looking-in type of emo band at the core of it because they tend to sing about emo or in an emo manner... It's like all of the qualities of emo just without the sound that brings about the genre tag. Or maybe I'm just listening to this one on the wrong day, but I still hear the sadness. Woe, the sadness. Still, sometimes music needs to be sad and this is a grand cassette to put on whenever.