Real Estate's sophomore effort Days
is a step forward in temperament. The New Jersey based band has always made their music sound easy, but this is ridiculous. The songs are light, breezy, and seemingly played without any sort of strenuous effort, as if picking up a guitar and strumming out chords is like walking and breathing. The songs are well suited for doing absolutely nothing;—listening to on a hammock in the yard on a balmy summer's day, napping, or just sitting around. But there is more to Days
than just how easy the songs sound, or how effortlessly the vocals coalesce. The songs use their amicable nature to take on deeper motifs, both sonic and lyrical, about the human condition.
That feeling of ease doesn't mean that the songs are inherently basic or simplistic. The layers upon layers of guitars give each track a palpable texture and depth, which translates into some chewy aesthetics. And there are a lot of these layers. Rolling guitar riffs weave seamlessly in and out of each other to create something that sounds like one fluid machine, a tapestry of licks. The end of the seven and a half minute album closer, "All The Same," is a prime example of the collection of guitars swimming in each others' aural oceans. The drums are subtle but by no means understated—they propel the tracks forward without being overbearing or gaudy. The reverb and echo that plays throughout this album gives the songs a distant quality while talking about very close things, almost like seeing a scene unfold as a fly on the ceiling.
kicks off with "Easy," and the song is just that—smooth and effortless. The poppy chord progression gives the song an uplifting feel as singer Martin Courtney ruminates on the notions of love and dreams. "Around the fields we grow / With love for everyone / Dreams we saw with eyes of hope / Until that dream was done." "It's Real" showcases the band's knack for making simple statements seem profound. The double tracking of some guitar, a two-note synth riff, and Courtney's lyrics about carving names into a tree come together to create something heartfelt and emotional despite the tired tropes. And Courtney's soft, airy delivery gives his lyrics a knowing tone, like looking back and being able to see more clearly, to be wiser.
That seems to be the thing to take away from Days
—taking notice that blase activities like floating lazily on a pool toy or going for an aimless drive to nowhere are somewhat solidly connected to tranquility and ultimately, are meaningful. Courtney's lyrics capture, and the rest of the band reinforces a "life is good" sort of profundity that most in our cynical society would dismiss as stereotypical or useless in affecting narratives. But, seriously those critics need to chill out, right?
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MP3: "It's Real"