IT'S A WONDER how many New Jersey teenagers have sat outside the Wawa convenience store on a balmy summer night, trash-talking their friend's taste in women, then stopping short in mid-rhapsody to utter something about their band making it big, maybe the Warped Tour stop in Oceanport. Wouldn't it be fun to trade in these crappy, Mexican-made Fenders and play somewhere other than the VFW hall? In some ways, this frequently rewound suburban pipe dream has materialized for Real Estate—who, after a successful Jersey rearing, have transported their lives through the bridges and tunnels to the big city.
"I can't get over how awesome it is that I'm doing this with my best friends from high school," says frontman Martin Courtney. "We used to fantasize about being in a 'real' band when we were younger." With the rather graceful onset of their second release, Days, they make it all sound remarkably easy.
Since Courtney, a self-described "mellow person," creates music with a band of likeminded friends, it's no surprise that Days picks up exactly where the band's 2009 self-titled debut left off: in a gently sloping field of tempered guitars and vocals, continuously fed by irrigation lines of reverb. However, in an album that ostensibly illustrates a string of perfect days, Courtney still manages to exorcise the demons of more stressful moments. According to him, songs "Younger than Yesterday" and "Out of Tune" highlight his bouts of toil and restlessness, mainly regarding the frustrations of the creative process. Quite simply, he sings, "If it takes all summer long/Just to write one simple song/There's too much to focus on/Clearly, there is something wrong." Through a faint haze of minor riffs, one can feel those twinges of grief slowly dulling.
For the full experience, it's recommended that you play this album—from start to finish, completely undisturbed, unless you happen to press replay on standout track "Green Aisles"—while doing what Courtney and fellow band members did in high school. "We drove around our town and the surrounding areas, shirking responsibility, getting into trouble, and barely fretting about the future. I usually forget about the uneasiness we felt back then, and just focus on the freedom."