Real Estate: Days (Domino) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Real Estate



Oct 18, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

On their second full-length, New Jersey’s Real Estate put their sunny harmonies and shimmering guitars on a larger stage. Days has a more expansive sound than the band’s earlier work, giving singer Martin Courtney’s vocals a bigger share of the load. Courtney’s lyrics, which were hard to make out on Real Estate’s debut and various singles, now come clear, and he has some fine moments. The chorus to “Green Aisles” is one of the album’s best: “All those wasted miles/All those aimless drives/Through green aisles/Our careless lifestyle/It was not/So unwise now.” The trope of moving down a highway is an all too common one, but Courtney subtly twists it by putting it so far after the fact, after the regrets have cycled through, and the fine image of passing down blacktop surrounded on both sides by grass and woods rescues it from any clichés.

At times the production gets in the way of the music, shrouding everything in a murk from which the finer points cannot escape. The sped-up pop of “It’s Real” loses some of its power when what should be soaring “Whoa-oh-oh”s remain tethered to the ground by flat production. The drums are nearly always muddy, which may be a function of the rotating cast Real Estate has employed there.

The guitars, however, are gorgeous. It would be difficult to find a prettier guitar part than the simple melody of “Three Blocks.” It’s this sound that separates Real Estate from its contemporaries. The guitars advance and recede like waves, reminiscent in a way of early R.E.M., if one exchanges the latter’s twang for a more crystalline beauty.

The band scales great heights on such songs as “Out of Tune” and “Municipality,” but Days ends up blending together a bit. Once the album finishes, the feeling is of a consistently pleasing spell, but one without many memorable moments. (

Author rating: 6/10

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