From a knotted web of jangly guitar tones, Ducktails’ mastermind, Matt Mondanile, untangles himself and welcomes the listener to his fourth solo-project entitled ‘The Flower Lane’ with the courteous introduction of ‘well hello, it’s me again’. From this point onwards, the mood of the album is established, and it is one that teleports the mind to summer days saturated in sunlight with a sound not too dissimilar to that heard on records by his perhaps more famed outfit Real Estate. However, by no means is this a regurgitation of Real Estate’s previous work as Mondanile makes sure to flex his musical muscles as a multi-instrumentalist. These talents are particularly prominent on the title track which is doused with glistening organ notes that float along beside Mondanile’s oh-so laid back vocal contributions.
The mellow slacker pop mood continues throughout as 70’s ballroom-esque anthem ‘Under Cover’ sets to entice a lover. This track provides further evidence that this is by no means an imitation of Real Estate’s output. This song, like many other tracks on the record, feels considerably looser and less restrained as a guitar solo is passionately unleashed in the song and sultry saxophone cries intermittently appear and then retreat back under the covers. Also, in terms of comparing this latest effort to his previous release ‘Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics’, the production value seems considerably more crisp. With the help of 11 other additional musicians, the result is a sound that consists of much more depth and substance. Amongst these musicians may not be Animal Collective’s ‘Panda Bear’, who made an appearance on Ducktail’s 2011’s big indie hit ‘Killin’ the Vibe’, but instead Mondanile drafts in the help of two NYC alt-queens. The first lady to blossom on ‘The Flower Lane’ is Cults’ Madeline Follin who features on ‘Sedan Magic’, a song that would fit comfortably on any night-time drive compilation. Jessa Farkas of Future Shuffle meanwhile also contributes to the record as a key player on the groovy number: ‘Letter of Intent’.
The album concludes with the reverb laden acoustic finale ‘Academy Avenue’ which, although could be legitimately criticised for its perhaps basic lyricism, provides a vivid picture of university romance in the sun-drenched imagery that so strongly characterises this album as ‘a couple strolls hand in hand’.
Words: George Hemmati