First off, Days is bliss. Anyone who says differently is wrong. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but not this time. Days is an unbelievably soothing and enjoyable album. It’s so unobtrusive one would be hard pressed not to like it. That’s it. As a matter of fact, don’t read the rest of this review.
New Jersey quartet Real Estate, led by singer/axeman Martin Courtney, has been on the scene for a couple of years now, gathering a good deal of hype. Days is its second album. The band boasts a one-of-a-kind aesthetic that uses shimmering, reverby guitars to create washy harmonies. It’s forehead-slap simple and at the same time untouchable.
Real Estate has honed and continues to hone, a bittersweet sound, big and passionate, with an eye for the past that is perhaps the nonpareil among its contemporaries. There are songs with words, and there are times when they would only cheapen the moment. The bucolic “Kinder Blumen” is the epitome of the melodic, warm feeling Days stirs.
Like a memory, Days has all the inexplicability, sentimental glow and missing details of the mind’s eye.
The one legitimate shot critics take at Real Estate is that it’s so fuzzy, so hypnotizing that it fails to elicit any lasting impression. And really, if that’s the worst to be said—that’s not bad at all. “All the Same” is a droning, seven-minute dreamer that eventually falls back on its own logic: “because the night is just another day.” Days is kind of like a novel if there were no conflict—or, if there were, only small trifles—just fleshed-out characters, scene and narrative. Hell, it’s a lot like the suburbs.
There are so many bad “suburban novels” in circulation today that when one hits below the belt (I’m not sure whether this has happened yet), sticking with the reader long after the first read or transcends its genre altogether—you’ll never forget it. What makes Real Estate’s little couplets wring the ol’ ticker is their simplicity. The dullness of lines such as, “See the cars out on 95/Cut through them like a sharpened knife,” has all the yearning of bad adolescent poetry, a life seen through car windows.
But when your life is concerned with banalities, those banalities mean everything. In “Younger than Yesterday,” Courtney says it himself: “It takes all summer long to write a simple song.” Rather than expatiate on a thousand little subjects or tackle a life’s scope in an album, Real Estate keeps Days obsessed with, well, the everyday, as you will find if you check out the page. If it does tackle a lot, it’s many variations on a theme.
Real Estate – Days tracklist:
- “Green Aisles”
- “It’s Real”
- “Kinder Blumen”
- “Out of Tune”
- “Wonder Years”
- “Three Blocks”
- “Younger Than Yesterday”
- “All the Same”