Real Estate: Days (Domino)

The fact that Days is an autumnal release creates perfect symmetry. The songs sparkle with the season's auburn glow right from the happy/sad guitar that opens the album on "Easy." The album's attitude seems to be that fall is all the sweeter because, as the days grow shorter, the afternoons seem more ephemeral.

The lyrics for "It's Real" deposit us directly into a wooded landscape that pivots from summer to fall to winter. The singer declares, "I carved our names into a tree / I walked on decomposing leaves / I skated on the frozen sea." An ebullient chorus breaks in to assert: "Whoa." The guitars tinkle; the snare snaps.

On "Green Aisles," we're given images of "mountains of maple leaves standing side by side" before the speaker remembers that "the winter was coming, but that was all right." The past tense conjures a remove, even as we're remembering moments of connection: "The phone lines, the street lights led me to you." What drives Days is a sense of joy and loss intertwined in perfect measure.

The band was rehearsing for this album back on their eponymous 2009 debut. That album's songs were a series of promising but disparate sketches. Some songs channeled yelping enthusiasm ("Beach Comber"), while others (like "Suburban Dogs") were only starting to enunciate the bittersweet that sustains Days. So, Days really is the sound of a band coming to a full bloom that is already—in what could be irony but is also very sweet-hearted—anticipating its own withering.