Matt Mondanile is back with another solo effort under his moniker Ducktails. This one, St. Catherine, will be your summer soundtrack. It promises to be packed with laid-back songs like we’ve come to love them from Mondanile’s other project, Real Estate. It’s due in a month, so try to quench your thirst with the lead single Headbanging in the Mirror.
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There’s nothing wrong with being nice. This Ducktails album isn’t as spectacular as the recent Triptides record, nor as infectious as the C. Duncan album - neither is it anywhere near as dreadful as the Tame Impala. Some songs wash straight over you as if they weren’t there, but it’s always nice on the ears. It’s the musical equivalent of visiting an old friend in whose company you are comfortable…. and they are wearing a really nice jumper.
Real Estate man Matt Mondanile knows his way around a beautiful guitar figure. The opening and closing instrumentals ‘The Disney Afternoon’ and ‘Reprise’ are both sun-dappled instrumentals you could take home to meet your mum. In between times there are a bunch of tracks which show varying degrees of ability to snag your ear. ‘Headbanging in the Mirror’ has the most wonderful guitar intro of the kind Wild Nothing excel. Mondanile's voice does a job in between but it doesn’t wholly inspire and comes a long way second to that gorgeous guitar. This pattern is repeated on several of the tracks, including the title track, which again is a beautiful guitar intro in search of a song. From a songwriting perspective the highlight comes late on ‘Church', a lo-fi delight with Julia Holter's lovely vocal elevating the song way above the rest of the album. Single ‘Surreal Exposure’ is as close as the album gets to Mondanile's parent band Real Estate.
Despite not knocking my socks clean off, there are loads of worse ways for your ears to spend half an hour. After the varied 'The Flower Lane', Monadile is back in comfortable territory. The guitar playing glistens throughout -- let's hope he has saved a few nice riffs for the next Real Estate album.
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