There’s always a little bit of desire in the way one feels after taking an album in for the first time. On their self-titled debut Real Estate ensured that music could be both melodically-strong while still maintaining an air of dreamy escape. The desire left behind was the calling for a refined, muscular sound and with Days, the band delivers. Desire to improve is hard to find but with Real Estate, there is no doubt that music will continue to amaze for quite some time now.
On their self-titled triumph the New Jersey-based band fashioned a melodically-gifted sound that was supported by dreamy soundscapes and lush ambience. A song like “Atlantic City” sways back and forth with a stunning guitar floating on top and on “Let’s Rock the Beach” they begin with a slow trudge of guitar and bass before coalescing into a blissful blend of reflective, relaxing tones. Their sounds were both easily accessible with enough substance for people to recall the album as one of 2009’s best: it was layered pop music with a glimmer of rock and dubbed with tranquility.
The music on Days both pushes the band into new realms while still displaying many of their singular strengths. For starters, there is definitely a more polished method of production on the album’s ten songs. “Wonder Years” sounds like an outtake from Simon & Garfunkel’s book, sprinkled with a timely rolling synthesizer and a chugging guitar. While the haze is still somewhat prevalent, it’s not nearly as established as it was on Real Estate. The opener, “All the Same,” thumps with expansive energy and gorgeous vocals about how the “night is just another day.” The seven-minute declaration is easily one of the album’s highlights in prevailing spirit and freeness, with the drums in constant motion and the music in circular effect. It’s the idea of a band progressing and moving forward – the song continues to build into a magnetic jam session of rock heaven – with a wonderful new affect on their sound.
The moments on songs like “Suburban Dogs,” where everything melts away into a web of smog, aren’t nearly as important on Days because the band is continuing to push ahead with new methods of songwriting. With “It’s Real” the band has created an impressively sublime pop song that bristles with both a catchy chorus and imposing energy. The song acts as an up-tempo juxtaposition to the calming round of ensuing “Kinder Blumen.” There’s still songs that resolve and dissolve into instrumental movements like the latter with its pensive feel and clockwork-like rhythms. With endeavors in touring that simply benefitted the band, Real Estate is definitely sounding far more assured than before.
It’s the kind of album that you would hope and aspire for when delivering a sophomore release. During a day and age where technology and hi-fidelity dominates, Real Estate continue to contrast that with smart, timely analog-influenced sounds that sparkle with spectacular ease. The intelligent songcraft on Days is remarkably strong and with enough luster to continue, here’s to hoping the desire never runs dry for Real Estate.