Ducktails

Jersey Devil

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Oct 03, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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It wasn't a bad thing that Matt Mondanile left Real Estate. For starters, there may have been enough animus built up that going forward would have been untenable. The band moved on with lead guitarist Julian Lynch and refocused to deliver this year's quality record In Mind. And Mondanile was free to place his undivided energy towards his solo work as Ducktails. Win win. From what is perhaps his more natural disposition anyway, his solo oeuvre has always made room for creative liberties that didn't have to meet consensus or adhere to a mission.

His sixth Ducktails release, and first since going full solo (although a few of the songs were penned while still a Real Estate rep.), is a continuation of his hypnagogic pop infatuation. Mondanile doubles down on his chillwave artistry, rather than seeking inspiration from expanding repertoire. With characteristic watercolor bleeds of synthesized sound and instrument these translucent bubbles of pop reflect a motivation to refine his search in familiar sonic terrain, to more deeply apprehend its treasured elements. In this way, Jersey Devil is analogous to a studied botanist introducing new seeds to a garden that took time and great care to cultivate.

This latest Ducktails trip down memory lane begins riding a parallel wavelength to recent albums by Mac DeMarco, Soft Hair, and Hoops, turning to synthesizers with the smooth cool of a freshly zomboni'd ice rink and guitars that twinkle and sparkle, lighting the way for the soft landing of Mondanile's feathered yet present vocals. There's a finesse in drum programming displayed here, with beat patterns that step with even pressure and live fills from John da Costa that add pep. Other contributors include John Anderson (Girls, Sky Ferreira), Malcolm Oliver Perkins, Samira Winter, and bassist Chi Yoon Hae of the South Korean indie band Parasol.

It all makes for easy listening, and poolside imagery of lounging idle in sunglasses is aroused.

The gentility of groove has its appeal, but you wouldn't look to anything on Jersey Devil for super stimulation, which is just fine. With the vibrant bounce of tunes like "Shattered Mirror Travel," there's simple bliss to be found in hitting cruise control. (www.ducktails.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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ujan ragdsd
October 3rd 2017
6:09am

best blog this