Ducktails: The Flower Lane

Matt Mondanile of Real Estate fame goes through metamorphosis

Artists that can’t seem to rest on their laurels are beautiful gifts to the world. Matt Mondanile is one of those artists, a musician who has enjoyed success with Real Estate as a guitarist, but maintained a stranger side in the form of his solo project, dubbed Ducktails. Through four great records (and a split LP with Dracula Lewis), Mondanile let flow odd visions of wandering emotion and wondering thoughts in shades of lo-fi bedroom-style recordings. That was Ducktails’ past. The Flower Lane is the present, and what a delightful present it is.

This is an excellent record, and one where we find Mondanile coming into his own as a solo artist and songwriter, as well as a competent collaborator. For this full-fledged studio effort with hit “indie” label Domino, Ducktails is more of a collective or club, that is to say a magnificent group effort centered around our six-string standout, Mr. Mondanile. The good folks of Big Troubles, also from New Jersey, play the part of backing band throughout the record, though they alone would not do. In addition, this record features Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never, Ford & Lopatin), Joel Ford (Ford & Lopatin), Madeline Follin (Cults), Jessa Farkas (Future Shuttle), and Martin Courtney (Real Estate).

Cohesive while richly varied, I believe that this is to be a long-term favorite of mine. It may generally be described as introspective pop, though beyond the realm of any previous Ducktails release. There is involved songwriting and practiced songwriting unlike anything heard before from the act (with the exception of closer “Academy Avenue” which sounds quite a bit like prior efforts).

Think: (Serious name-dropping ahead) Ariel Pink meets Bradford Cox (Atlas Sound, Deerhunter) and gets Mac Demarco to play backup guitar while recording on Woodsist with Destroyer’s backing sax players but they were listening to a lot of Aztec Camera at the time. Or like spacier Real Estate. Whatever.

REC: 1, 2, 3 (long slow jam), 5 (weirdest), 7, 9 (honestly all are great)

FCC: Clean

Label: Domino

Add Date: January 29, 2013

Alex Applegate reviewed this album on January 28, 2013


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