This review was originally published at Listen Before You Buy.
The cloudy, languid pop of Real Estate has been a favorite of the most well-versed hipsters for a few years now, and the band is finally emerging from the underground market straight into the ears of the mainstream crowd with their sophomore album “Days”.
At their best, Real Estate sound like a more melodic, stretched out Nada Surf. Their use of repetition creates a feeling of relaxation within the separate tracks that also somehow encompasses the album as a whole. ‘Green Aisles’ is one of the highlights on the record, and perhaps the one that most evokes Nada Surf with lines like “Mountains of maple leaves/ standing side by side/ The phone lines/ the streetlights/ led me to you.” This track discusses the difficulties of being far away from the ones you love, and how the unwise wanderings of youth often contain more life in them than any others
The real stand out track on the album, though, is certainly the love declaration ‘It’s Real‘ with a chorus of ‘ohs’ and an assurance that some connections are, indeed, real, this bouncing melody warms even the most jaded heart. Although the song is more upbeat it still maintains the chilled out feel that the slower tracks contain.
A strong feature of the album is in the way that it never feels need to stray into the frenetic, as many indie synth pop acts are prone to do. Real Estate’s songs maintain an even-keeled, cyclical nature that can sometimes slip into a trance-like repetition. They never become boring though; the cycles are always highlighted with guitar or vocal flourishes that act like blooms of color on the canvas of the record.
‘Wonder Years’, a track that comes late in the album, evokes both the cultural allusion of the TV show along with the personal recollection of how it feels to be hopelessly in love with someone who does not return the sentiment. Much like the bygone years and era of the TV show, the song skillfully compares a vanished love to this fleeting, desperate nostalgia we have for the past.
Real Estate has the good fortune of being label mates with the likes of Bonnie Prince Billy and The Dirty Projectors, who are all on Domino Records. If the previous excellent work done by Domino is any indication, Real Estate are assured the chance of expanding far past their local east coast roots and well into the expansive musical realm, they certainly deserve the acclaim and if “Days” is any indication, they have a whole lot more to offer. Grab a download of ‘Green Aisles’ right here.