Ducktails – The Flower Lane
Ducktails is the side project of Matthew Mondanile of Real Estate. Side projects are inferior. By definition. Inherently. Genetically. But maybe not. The last Real Estate album, Days, was a nice listen. Did it stick in the memory? Not really. So what makes makes The Flower Lane different? In one sense, nothing. At a certain level, there’s not very much to distinguish the two projects. Both have lots of jangleness. Both have the same vocal sound. But they are different. Real Estate sound like they’re trying really hard. They want to be a serious band. Ducktails (listen, we just have to get over the silly name!), by contrast, sound like they’re having fun. They sound like an 80s group, but with decent equipment and better production values to the power of n. There’s a real Blow Monkeys vibe at times. A little sax. Lots of guitars and synths and a great rhythm. ‘Assistant Director’ is nothing less than jaunty. And it may only be February (and only just) but ‘Under The Covers’ is going to be one of the great songs on the year. And just when you’re getting used to the vibe, there’s a real change. Towards the end, on ‘Sedan Magic’ and ‘Letter of Intent’, there’s a girl sound. The vocals are shared. It freshens up the feeling and adds another layer. Real Estate may be Matthew Mondanile’s long-term investment. The savings account. The pension fund. But Ducktails, in this manifestation at least, are the pure speculation. The short-term gain. And, even in these depressed times, sometimes it’s worth the risk. Ducktails are the day at the races. The thrill of the punt. They’re worth taking the chance.