Review: Ducktails – The Flower Lane
Published on February 18th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Real Estate guitarist Matthew Mondanile releases his fourth album as Ducktails, further entrenching himself in the camp marked ‘lightly psychedelic dream-pop’ and occasionally turning in an absolute belter.
The title track of The Flower Lane is one such belter, benevolently strutting along on the delicious, glowing textures created by its dissonant electric piano chords and Mondanile’s ever-jangling guitar, reminding Rocksucker of such sadly missed bands as Dawn of the Replicants and Sound 5. It’s one of the songs of the year so far, and we dare say the album would be a fair old proposition if it were all up to this standard.
As it is, this great track is accompanied largely by perfectly decent numbers that suffer by comparison. There is much to cherish here – the sublimely bending lead guitar in opener “Ivy Covered House”, the funky sort of edge to “Timothy Shy” (which incidentally reminds us of “Magnificent” from HAL’s The Time The Hour album of last year), the ace squelchy synth on the bright beam of sunshine that is “Assistant Director” – but Mondanile, for all his commendable pop instincts and nicely understated vocals, would really be onto something if he were to further indulge the stranger elements of his sound.
The Flower Lane wrong-foots the listener often enough to please, but its strongest moments serve perversely to heighten the sense of missed opportunity. “Sedan Magic” and “Letter of Intent” are all well and good with their steamy chillwave vibes, but they’re just not what yer man does best. It’s hard to begrudge him the variety, but the likes of the title track and the too-cool-for-school “Under Cover” demand greater bedfellows than they are afforded here. Such is the nature of a prolific side project, we guess.
Excessive harshness aside, this is a splendid LP’s worth of agreeable, intricately pieced-together pop music with a lush soul coating. A little less complacency next time round could yield startling results.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!
The Flower Lane is out now on Domino. For more information, please visit ducktails.bandcamp.com