Album Of The Week: Real Estate Days

By Corban Goble / October 18, 2011

It should be no great surprise that we’re really into this record, considering that we’ve already heaped praise onto album tracks like “Green Aisles,” “Out Of Tune” and the magnificent “It’s Real” as well as took the temperature of the general reaction to Days in a Comment Party. But even if this is hammering home the point a little too zealously, it’s still worth teasing out why Real Estate’s Days is such a sharp, effective release for an outfit that not only somewhat begot an indie rock sonic trend, but crystallized the merits and emotional reach of that sound.

If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you’re most likely familiar with the charms of Real Estate’s self-titled debut, an opus of bummed-out odes to New Jersey suburbia and its corresponding nostalgia. That record’s popularity set the table for like minded outfits like Big Troubles and the sound was fertile enough to launch Real Estate spinoffs (Ducktails, Alex Bleeker and the Freaks) that didn’t sound like rehash. Those outfits certainly wade in the same sonic streams, a sound populated by reverby guitars and open-ended explorations of indie rock textures.

What makes Days so strong is, in a sense, subtle, but it’s also immediately clear from the opening notes of “Easy.” The songs on Days are crisper and more immediate without sacrificing Real Estate’s signature mellowness (best exhibited on songs like “Kinder Blumen” and “Younger Than Yesterday”). Though he’s a bit undersung, somehow, I can’t say enough about lead singer Martin Courtney’s strengths as a songwriter; Real Estate’s songs are imbued with a certain cohesiveness and thought that I don’t necessarily see in the related outfits, who are more wont to channel a groove or a vibe and ride it out.

There’s a lot to like about Days, as the record touches on the same universal moods that made their debut so striking. It’s the crispest and maturest thing Real Estate has done, to date, which makes it an easy pick for Album Of The Week.

Days is out now on Domino. The album is streaming at NPR.