The Flower Lane by Ducktails (Album)

13 March, 2013 in Music Reviews

Ducktails

On album number four, Matt Mondanile’s Ducktails sound at their most accomplished, with ‘The Flower Lane’ replete with melodic sensibility

Ducktails The Flower Laneeginning life as a solo/side project from his day job in New Jersey outfit Real Estate, Matt Mondanile finds himself in not one but two acts signed to premier league indie label Domino. The Flower Lane is the fourth Ducktails album and by far the most accomplished. The three previous efforts were recorded in a lo-fi, basement style, but with a generous studio budget supplied by Domino, Mondanile was able to take an extended cast of friends and musical peers into the studio in the summer of 2012, while Real Estate were on vacation.

Freed from the limitations of home recording, The Flower Lane is a beautifully sumptuous album, recalling Real Estate’s melodic sensibility and embracing a love of the sort of 80s production techniques last heard on Destroyer’s fantastic 2011 album Kaputt. It’s almost a game of two halves on display here, albeit shuffled inconveniently among its ten tracks.

At least one half of The Flower Lane’s songs seem like a natural progression from the strongest tracks on Ducktails’ previous album Ducktails: III Arcade Dynamics, including the cover of Peter Gutteridge’s Planet Phrom and especially the closing Academy Avenue. Mondanile’s pleasingly lackadaisical vocals complement his songcraft perfectly.

The remaining offerings could work equally well as a separate, standalone EP, embracing a number of guest vocalists from Cults, Oneohtrix Point Never and Ford and Lopatin. If that’s a criticism, it’s a minor one. Sedan Magic and Letter Of Intent are particular highlights of the collaborative process at work, with the former sounding like a love letter to Prefab Sprout’s Steve McQueen (which was probably the intention).

Verdict: A beautifully sumptuous album

Alun Jones