Is it always summer in Ridgewood, New Jersey? Yes, if you are to believe the testaments of Real Estate’s latest addition to the increasing grassy knoll of summery indie which has drifted into the airwaves over the last year or so. An enjoyable albeit repetitive album, Days shimmers with a golden warmth possibly only applicable to the state of perpetual sunshine in which Real Estate seem to exist.
The opener, ‘Easy’, sets the tone: reverb soaked, nay, sodden guitars; proficient vocal harmonies and lyrics concerning the carefree abandon of childhood. The record is an ode to an idealised youth and an idealised summer; one in which the grim spectre of winter is an eternity away and all that exists is a perfect, shining present. The album features little variation on this; each song seems to be a slight modification of this idea, melting into the next with excellent cohesion.
However, it is not long until the album becomes irritating; a shame considering the clear abundance of talent possessed by Real Estate and the good, catchy tunes that they so often write. ‘Wonder Years’, for example, is a perfectly crafted 69 Love Songs-era Magnetic Fields pop song whilst single ‘It’s Real’ combines the a Byrds-like jangle with a subtle and inspired guitar line; providing a breath of fresh air from the otherwise very monotonous strumming.
And it’s this frustrating monotony and lack of inspiration which makes you appreciate the inventiveness of fellow American Pitchforkers like Avi Buffalo and Wild Nothing; where the former’s Avi Zahnner Isenberg is capable of incredible, understated innovation, Real Estate seem to prefer to dig out the wah-wah pedal and call it a day. Where Wild Nothing experiment with different instruments and textures, Real Estate seem to stubbornly stick to what they know like a trio of indie mules.
Not that this particular formula doesn’t work wonders in places; Real Estate have an impressive tendency to create dreamy, atmospheric soundscapes with particular flair considering their minimal set up, and the album is by no means a dud. The three of them create a particularly vivid feeling of summer; it’s just feels like one of those ones when you’re getting a bit bored.
Released on 18th October 2011 by Domino Recording Company