The sophomore album from New Jersey lo-fi pop group Real Estate continues creating the iridescent analog landscapes of the band's self-titled debut release, but much of the haze that kept the first album feeling a little stuffy is replaced with a sunny, hot-air-balloon-ride sound. The beach-influenced guitars of members Martin Courtney and Matt Mondanile remain, though this time crisper, filling each song with poppy melodies.
Considered one of the best new bands of 2009, Real Estate has built upon that foundation and found a little more to talk about this time around. Still shying away from wordy lyrics, hopeful and specific pictures are nevertheless painted on some songs. The album's first single, "It's Real," drops you straight into a romance and like other songs on Days, the music is thick with optimism. The fourth cut "Kinder Blumen" is the same kind of imaginative instrumental found on the opener, while "Wonder Years" lovingly harkens back to the peace-loving folk rock sound of the '60s.
Days is a compelling follow-up for a band that had a lot to live up to after the acclaim garnered by their first album. Now signed to London-based record label Domino, Real Estate seems to be embracing the pop side of their music with more relationship-based songs that are easier to sing along to, and ultimately that's just fine.