Days by Real Estate

10.18.11; Domino Records

Real Estate creates music fitting for casual bike rides on leisurely summer days—light, simple and pleasing—and the overall tone of their latest LP Days can be neatly summarized by the title of its opening track: Easy. Carrying over similar qualities of their 2009 eponymous debut, this work evokes all the same weather-related adjectives you might expect (warm, breezy, sunny), but offers much brighter production.  It is a livelier sounding album than Real Estate, and it is no less pleasant to listen to.

Never once is Days overbearing or abrasive; it has an understated sound that will work for some listeners and bother the hell out of others. The band is aware of their place as a backdrop in their listener’s lives and is careful not to overstep, but there is fine line between safe and forgettable. The drums roll on with just enough strength for each track, allowing the vocal hooks and catchy guitar riffs to shine through.  The LP takes a stress-free approach to sound and the band is great at crafting cheerful melodies.

Kinder Blumen, the only instrumental track on the album, is a familiar-sounding tune with a memorable riff, but some of Days’ best tracks are the rare ones in which Real Estate plays with darker themes. On Younger Than Yesterday and Municipality, the weightier approach works for them, hinting that there is deeper layer that the band has yet to tap into.

Days is not for the critical listener; there is simply not enough for one to dissect on this album. People who are looking for something unique, challenging and experimental will be gravely disappointed.  Real Estate has stayed true to form and has once again created an LP that is meant for people to chill-out to. Those who prefer to be jostled by an album—to feel every aspect of it and to discover new layers with each listen—will agree that Days sounds lovely but will quickly bore of it, reserving it for those occasions when sleep-mode is in order—long drives and pseudo sick days.

Whatever the case may be, Days is a pleasant way to pass the time. If Real Estate can manage to extend beyond their trademark likeable pop tunes and develop a more diverse sound next time around, they’ll not only gain the sonic depth necessary to have staying power, but will garner more respect from their audience and critics—particularly those tempted to use the title of the LP’s closing track against them: All the Same.

— By Amanda Gallagher, freelance writer and wearer of many (tiny) hats.


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