Ducktails: St. Catherine (Domino) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024  


St. Catherine


Jul 24, 2015 Ducktails Bookmark and Share

Matt Mondanile’s fifth album as Ducktails, St. Catherine, was recorded over an extended period of time around tour dates for Mondanile’s day job as guitarist for Real Estate. On the final stretch of St. Catherine‘s recording, the Los Angeles transplant Mondanile brought in Elliott Smith co-producer Rob Schnapf, to whom the album’s idyllic quality could, at least in part, be attributedalthough Mondanile is no slouch in that department himself.

Ducktails is a more personal expression for Mondanile, in which his opinion is the sole one that matters, and it tends to have more fluctuations in style from album to album than Real Estate do. And on St. Catherine, Mondanile lyrically reveals more of himself than ever before, packaged in a pretty pop setting. “Headbanging In the Mirror,” with its softly gorgeous melody lines and dreamy rhythms, is the flagship song of St. Catherine. Keeping that same ethos but with a more psychedelic bent, “Into the Sky” proves even more alluring, while “Medieval” shudders and cools down in turns, and even has a string interlude where Mondanile flexes his composition skills. These orchestrations turn up again on the Julia Holter-featured “Church.” Holter features on two tracks, but it’s on the aforementioned “Church” where she and Mondanile’s twin vocals ride on polyphonic keys.

Ducktails’ chill tones have the reputation of being quality stoner music. St. Catherine fits that bill, but is so much more than that. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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