Ducktails – The Flower Lane

Ducktails - The Flower LaneDucktails
The Flower Lane
[Domino, 2013]
Mike Skipper, February 4, 2013
Buy: Direct
Listen: “The Flower Lane”

A few years ago I saw Ducktails opening for Deerhunter at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina.  At this point the band consisted solely of Matt Mondanile creating lo-fi songs with a guitar and a synthesizer.  The Flower Lane is a huge step from the first recordings through adding a full live band into the mix and working some great collaborations in (including Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never and Madeline Follin of Cults).  Ducktails’ new sound is a rich and inviting psychedelic pop experience.

The album starts out with a mid-tempo love song titled “Ivey Covered House”.  The guitar opens lightly and breezily into the lyrics “Well, hello / It’s me again,” (an apropos statement for a fourth album effort).  The song goes on to describe a post-modern wooing with lines like, “You’ll never spend another night alone,” or, “You can whisper in my ear / Words so precious, words so dear.”

The title track on the album, “The Flower Lane”, is in direct contrast to the album’s opener.  Beginning with the lyrics “And now she’s gone and I feel a mess,” Mondanile creates a melancholy atmosphere revolving around the idea that we are all alone together.   Nowhere is this more evident than in the line leading up to the first chorus, “Imagine all the people walking out the door / A million pretty faces with no one to care for.”

One of the most fun parts of the album is the song “Planet Phrom”.  Mondanile sings of a place that seems to be his own personal paradise which happens to be on the distant planet Phrom.  With lines like, “All the trees have dripping drugs,” and “Making love to my alien wife,” this song lyrically sticks out from all the other tracks on the album.

The highlight of the album occurs when Mondanile takes a step back from the mic and lets Jessa Farkas of Future Shuttle take over.  The song “Letter of Intent” also features Oneohtrix Point Never’s Daniel Lopatin on synths.  The song features a call-and-response between Farkas and Mondanile of “Follow you, you’ll follow me” and “I will walk with you and you will walk with me,” that creates a passionate atmosphere throughout.  Ducktails shows on this song that they are able to create catchy, easily re-playable pop gold.

Considering that earlier Ducktails recordings were free of lyrics all together, it is quite refreshing to see that Mondanile is able to write such honesty into his work.  The lyrics throughout seem sincere and the music fits the atmosphere perfectly.  Ducktails has taken major strides on The Flower Lane from being just a side project to becoming a major outlet form Mondanile.

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