Outside it may be a bleak November day, probably raining too, but inside New Jersey natives Real Estate's sophomore album Days, it is summer all the time. After the success of their acclaimed 2009 self-titled debut the band have had a lot to compete with, and with an album stifled with soft melodies, expansive arrangements and a sense of mundanity and melancholy in the music and lyrics, the trio have done very well to compete with Real Estate.
Like with last year's seminal The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, the theme of the album is suburbia, more specifically the theme of this album is the everyday quality of suburban life, 'All those wasted miles/ All those aimless drives through green aisles' vocalist/guitarist Martin Courtney sings on 'Green Aisles', a picture of a thousand summers spent doing very little at all is evoked - hours spent in fields or bedrooms is harked back to and a real sense of familiarity and reliability is found in the song writing throughout the whole album. The style is simple but not boring or repetitive at the same time, it has a very idyllic style instead. The simplicity contrasts with the dreamy, poppy guitars to a great extent.
The music, particularly with the help of guitarist Matt Mondanile, has a very simplistic feel to it too. The rich melodies complement each song seamlessly, together with the fine-tuned rhythm and understated echoes on each song, the well layered guitar licks are all precisely placed and adds a wealth of shape and colour to each track. Album opener, 'Easy', reflects this well as the sweet sounding jingles from Mondanile's guitar take centre stage next to Courtney's tranquil vocals. If anyone heard Stereogum's Stroked tribute to Is This It? then they'll know that Real Estate are a band that really do struggle to sound bad, finding the right sound to suit the lyrics they work with.
In a recent interview with The Fly, front man Martin Courtney described the album has being for 'a certain mood. I can't put my finger on it.' which isn't really as dismissive at it first comes across. There is a very melodic, late Pavement guitar-style, tone that bodes well for a hazy summer afternoon, yet it does sound just as good to listen to on a rainy October evening. It has a kind of timelessness about it that enables it to be played whenever and it could easily suit any backdrop.