Real Estate - Days (Domino)

Perfect follow-up to their stunning debut.

Released Nov 2nd, 2011 via Domino / By Liv Willars
Real Estate - Days (Domino) Real Estate's self-titled debut was released at a time of mass California dreaming for the UK's music geeks. Wavves was lighting things up in many senses of the word, Best Coast was going gooey for the warm sea-breeze of her hometown and the likes of The Fresh & Onlys and Thee Oh Sees had been blocking out the big freeze with sun-bleached jams, all playing some part in hyping the optimistic sales of tie-dye t-shirts nationwide, despite our own English Summer staying as miserable as ever.

While we were all getting spoilt for choice with every passing week's worth of new demo's hitting our shores from seemingly warmer climbs, like all summer romances, things eventually cooled down. It wasn't them, it was us. We'd had our fill of summer loving and needed more to occupy our ears, and anyway, we'd quickly discovered our hair refused to grow past shoulder-length, no matter how much we persevered, and any hope of a tan was ruined by the red peel of pasty skin left out in the sun too long.

While others may have surrendered to the sparkle of a poppier career, or headed out into the psychedelic wilderness, there are still the old flames that have kept up the magic, stretching their sound like knees pushed under a comfortable old sweater. It's been two years and a few solo outings later, but Real Estate have returned with an album that easily rivals their debut, and considering how fast Real Estate became a record collection staple, it's no mean feat.

Even on first listen, and maybe even for newcomers to the band, the gentle guitar-led songs sound familiar and comforting. Which is no surprise given that they are written by the same group of old friends, who formed the band after returning to their hometown of Ridgewood in New Jersey after college. The strong bond they've built previously in sound has been expanded upon, and Days is a more introspective and mature collection, but still borrowing from the easy-going and heartfelt nature of their previous songs.

It's clear that the album has been constructed with care and precision, to be listened to as a whole rather than the all-to-often handful of hits bumped up with filler in the age of the mp3, despite the more radio-friendly moments of 'It's Real' and 'Easy'. The songs are tender tales of friendship, walks through nature and attempts to organise stray thoughts; a struggle to grasp the many pitfalls of growing older and thinking ahead, without a whiff of angst or drama to stale the sentiments.

With the uncanny ability to capture the memories that belong to all of us, Real Estate have once again produced an exceptional album. A gentle guide through the changing of the seasons, Days will remain on many a turntable long after the trees have shed their leaves. It may only be November and I don't want to tempt fate, but it's probably now safe to say this is set to be my album of the year.