Ducktails: The Flower Lane
Something about this album strikes me as a collaborative effort, maybe because it appears to have such a wide array of influences. It seems to be every music critic’s instinct to search for ways to compare one band to another, but with this one, I keep changing my mind. XTC? Too mellow…but maybe. The Yardbirds? Too modern…but kinda. There’s just no pinning it down. However, this is far from a bad thing. Originally spawned as a solo project by indie artist Matt Mondanile of Real Estate, Ducktails has spun off into a multifaceted outfit with many guest musicians lending their talents to fresh, simple indie pop, which bends easily in many directions. On “Under Cover,” the album takes a retro turn into psychedelic funk with delay-drenched guitars and dreamy vocals. “Timothy Shy” has a strange, jaunty energy reminiscent of early 50’s rock, but with a contemporary edge. “Assistant Director” uses synths in a boldly sparing fashion, creating a space rarely utilized in indie pop today, where it seems the biggest trend is to wash everything in reverb and chorus effects. “Letter Of Intent” features Madeline Follin from Cults and has a whimsical quality to it with tasteful use of synths and effects.
The best thing about this album is its production value; understated and humble in an era where everyone seems to be looking for the next indie pop anthem with big, swelling, epic choruses. Sometimes you just want to listen to music without being beaten over the head. The Flower Lane is worth strolling down.