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There were audible gasps when the promo of the lead track from Real Estate sidesman Matt Mondanile’s new opus was played here at the towers. It has been known for the wrong artists to appear on promos and flummox us completely but in this case the stylistic shift does make more sense in an album which seemingly attempts to create a mix tape of the best of ‘80s pop.Opener ‘Ivy Cov ...

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The Flower Lane by Ducktails
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8/10 Clinton Staff review, 25 January 2013

There were audible gasps when the promo of the lead track from Real Estate sidesman Matt Mondanile’s new opus was played here at the towers. It has been known for the wrong artists to appear on promos and flummox us completely but in this case the stylistic shift does make more sense in an album which seemingly attempts to create a mix tape of the best of ‘80s pop.

Opener ‘Ivy Covered House’, however is drop dead superb, so good and so Real Estatey that you wonder why it wasn’t presented forth for his parent band’s must-be-happening-soon-surely third album. The title track is a pleasant jangly lollop if slightly overlong. ‘Under Cover’ is where things a turn for the ‘80s. It’s China Crisis pure and simple with smooth synths and wine bar sax and as a result it will also appeal to fans of the excellent Wild Nothing. ‘Timothy Shy’ has something of the Ariel Pink jaunty, loose feel to it i but the albums other main highlight is ‘Planet Phrom’ a three-minute slice of jangle pop that sounds almost exactly like New Zealand greats The Chills and recalls the stellar ‘Dead Pictures’ from Snapper’s outrageously underrated ‘Shotgun Blossom’ album (in fact I’ve just read that it’s a cover of a Snapper main man Peter Gutteridge tune - how clever am I? Eh?...Eh?).

‘Sedan Magic’ taps into the wonderfully evocative smooth-pop of mid ‘80s Prefab Sprout, most notably the ‘Protest Songs’ album and associated B sides where they were playing around with sophistication in a dingy Durham backwater. Which brings us to the aforementioned single ‘Letter of Intent’ and even in the context of this all over the bloody place album it still kinda sounds out of place, a slinky slab of lo-fi discotheque with female vocals and synth wibbles - a collaboration with Ford of Ford & Lopatin. It’s gorgeous though kind of taking up the mid ground between Empire of the Sun and Eighth Wonder. To sum up a mixed bag of compositions, like an alternate reality lo-fi take on the soundtrack for ‘The Wedding Singer’. Flawed definitely, but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.


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