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17 Oct. 2011 | Format: MP3

£7.99 (VAT included if applicable)
Buy the CD album for £9.16 and get the MP3 version for FREE. Does not apply to gift orders.
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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New Jersey's Real Estate excel for the most part on their second album, 'Days'; a collection of catchy if slightly indistinct fuzzy indie-pop/rock gems. 'It's Real', the one track from the album to get a bit of genuine radio play this side of the pond is probably the album's highlight - an irresistibly catchy, bouncy song full of 'oh-oh-ohhh''s and melodic, reverb-heavy guitar. The rest of the album is along the same lines, slightly too much so in fact; with a lack of variety being the main criticism I'd level at the album. Singer Martin Courtney's voice is also quite often too far back into the mix of songs to get its full impact across - but he gets a chance to properly air it on the album's superb closer 'All the Same', a track which feels both fresh and modern, whilst also bringing back echoes of the jangly guitar of bands from The Byrds to The Stone Roses. And it's this that makes Real Estate such an appealing band. They've adapted a lot of what made various genres great, from the fuzzy pop of Slumberland bands to the polished, complex melodies of more recent acts like The New Pornographers; and injected a new kind of laid-back vibrancy. The band as a whole are technically skilled, meaning that whilst 'Days' could do with a few more variations in style, they're musically adept enough to stop things from feeling too repetitive; and Real Estate do clearly have an ear for a pleasing, sunny rhythm.

One or two tracks feel a bit more filler than killer on 'Days', most notably the dull instrumental 'Kinder Blumen' and the underwhelming 'The Wonder Years', but they're more than made up for by the bittersweet fingerpicking of 'Green Aisles', and the youthful yearning of 'Three Blocks'.
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No one creates such a peerless soundtrack evoking a lazy, Endless Summer like Real Estate. The eponymous debut LP was a fantastic, fuzzy beach bum's daydream that quickly became a favourite of mine to banish the blues and accompany the sunshine. The follow up is more of the same blissful 80s inspired jangle but boasting its tunes this time round with a clear, crisp production reminiscent of Stephen Street's work with The Smiths. Calling it stoner music does it a great disservice - the mood is more of an innocent breeziness and the musicianship is so tight and entrancing it's hardly the aimless jamming the phrase conjures.

As before I imagine for the first-time listener it will take a few listens for the distinct mood to wash over and take a hold. A criticism often levelled at Real Estate is that the songs can seem repetitive but this misses the point - it is meant to be a trance-like flow, creating a locked groove from a perfectly formed riff and running with it. This is how a cohesive album with a statement of intent should be. Closer repeat listens reveal beautiful, subtle little details in percussion, phazing guitars and vocal harmonizing which dip in and out of the mix. I wonder whether closing track 'All The Same's title is accompanied by a wry smile from the band...

It's kind of pointless to separate out tracks but the singalong joy of 'It's Real' is an irresistible woozy pop rush that stands out.

This is getting heavy rotation in my car and is destined to be the soundtrack of this summer for me - if you have room in your heart for this kind of chiming guitar pop, you'll rarely find better.
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Originality seems to be becoming a point of contention more and more when discussing the merits of contemporary rock bands, mainly because most modern groups seem to find the centuries of music offered up to them via the internet's various streaming sites too irresistable not to cherry pick from. Real Estate are another indie band that's been criticized and revered in equal measure, essentially for combining the wet spring reverb of late 50's Surf Rock with the alternative jangle of IRS years R.E.M. I would say Real Estate are little unfortunate to have the dreaded revivalism tag thrown at them so wantonly though, as it's a fairly original synthesis of styles even if the merger fails to really mask their said influences.

Whether you find the music on Days the bands sophomre album a triumph or not, will probably come down to how ascetic you are about these things. Personally they had me with their stellar single "It's Real". That song couldn't be anymore of an instant classic if it tried, the delicious chord progressions and heavenly harmonies make it one of those songs you just always want to hear regardless of your mood. "Easy" is another standout from the album, it has the uniquely brilliant quality of evoking feelings of nostalgia and tranquility in equal measure and the title couldn't be any more appropriate as this all sounds so gosh darn effortless to them. It makes you wonder why they didn't go the whole hog and call the album easy, but that probably has a lot do with how the lyrics are principally concerned with the sacred feeling of youthful abandonment.

"Green aisles" in particular highlights this bands modus operandum by defiantly reminiscing about the joys of living a life thats aloof and uncomplicated "Our careless lifestyle, it was not so unwise.
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