Fall: a season of transitions in which nature begins to reach its end for the year and the weather becomes bleaker by the day. The changes that this season brings aren’t all based on our surroundings though; mentally we begin a transition as well. With memories of this past summer already seeming hazy, we forget what it was like to live under the shining sun and what it was like to live every day to the fullest.
Just like there exists music perfect for the summertime, there is music ideal for the fall. It is slow and somber, but also somewhat hazy and optimistic, as if it is trying to remind us of our lives before hoodies. New Jersey’s Real Estate is the kind of band that remembers summer with joy (albeit without having the most vivid recollection). Their newest album Days is almost a story of summer days, told through the eyes of someone who doesn’t quite recall them. The easygoing instrumentation and the lyrics of spending the days not worrying about much, mixed with the haziness of the vocal mixing make Days the perfect fall record.
Like the title suggests, the first track “Easy” is an easy listening experience, which recounts simpler days (“Around the fields we grow/With love for everyone/Dreams we saw with eyes of hope/Until that dream was done”). The aesthetic that the album presents itself with is pretty apparent from early on. The vocals are catchy without being too prominent. They are definitely more audible and cleaner than in Real Estate’s eponymous debut, but this record lets the guitars take center stage. There is nothing crazy or outlandish about the guitar parts in Days, in fact they are simple and friendly, but it’s that which makes them so valuable. They create an atmosphere of accessibility and coziness that goes perfectly with the mood of the record.
Real Estate might have a crossover hit in their hands with “It’s Real,” with its sweet and jangly guitars and its unforgettable “ohs.” The track quickly becomes a favorite and is one of those songs that keeps you revisiting the record. Its length and simplicity may also attract casual music listeners, propelling Real Estate to the level of other indie crossovers such as Foster the People and Hot Hot Heat.
Days is mostly upbeat and never a downer, but it does have its mellower moments. The melancholy chords in “Municipality” show the album’s true feeling, that of autumn. “Wonder Years” brings a darker undertone, with its lyrics of lost love (“But I’m not yours and you’re not mine/No, I’m not OK but I guess I’m doing fine”).
The album closes with one of the more daunting songs in their discography. The 7-minute “All the Same” starts off as another slightly moody indie pop track. Towards the midway point however, Real Estate begins to jam out on the rest of the song as the vocals do not make a return.
Days is fun, accessible and pretty. With their second album Real Estate has strayed from their fuzzier roots and entered a world of blissful indie pop. Sometimes the change can kill a band, but in this case it’s only made them stronger.