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'. On 'Days', Real Estate have honed and improved the sound which made their debut album a likeable but rather inconsistent one. Whilst they could do with exploring some new directions musically, Real Estate are a band with serious promise, who have produced a really good record with 'Days'. Relaxed, summery and with a knowing tinge of sadness, it's an album with a good feel about it; and a band with more than enough musical skill to make that feeling translate. I'd certainly recommend this album, and look forward to seeing where Real Estate go with their next release.