Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ducktails - II (Future Sound Recordings CS)

Ducktails' Matt Mondanile just sent me a couple of beautiful releases on what I believe is his own Future Sound Recordings, so thanks Matt! Having received pretty decent press as of late and with a few LPs on the way, Ducktails and his other group, Predator Vision, are starting to ingrain themselves pretty solidly in the scheme of things, with releases forthcoming on labels like DNT and Not Not Fun.

II reads like some great bedroom demo tape, though the soon-to-be-reviewed 1992 Demo would seem to appear this project's mythical demo tape. Yet Mondanile nails the aesthetic with that kind of storyline--"Tropical Heat" sounds like some instrumental groove out of Miami circa our nostalgic reinterpretation of the early 90s. "Backyard" is little more than one little melody that rests neatly against the side of your martini glass while "The Mall" is a miniature piece whose melody is as much Jimmy Buffett as it is Destroyer--just lo-fi and honest warmth. "Afternoons Tray Sliders" reads like some lost Doors instrumental jam as interpreted by some Carolina beach music group while "Boating" bobs along steadily on crystalline waters. "Island Flavor" strengthens Mondanile's connection to the Skaters as Casio samples are interlaced creating a kind of psychedelic beach music whose rhythms drip about a la Spencer Clark, but whose overall sensibility and aesthetic is more in line with Ferraro's ruminations on past-as-present, nostalgia-as-reality views.

Side two stretches out a bit, taking the time to explore only four tracks. "Let's Rock the Beach" uses a drum machine and nifty guitar lick as the sum total of a work, letting it sprawl on and on across the ocean and into the horizon. Mondanile has an incredibly strong sense of pop melody, but it is his sense of timing that spearates him from that of pop craftsman. Rather, Mondanile uses the endless repetitive shapes and tongue-in-cheek attitude toward his work to his advantage, simultaneously coming off as completely heartfelt but also sarcastic and humorously in touch with the standard connotations of his sound. "Status Quo" similarly stretches out into oblivion with a light-as-air wailing attitude that require shades for sure. It's like Ariel Pink with more balls as acquired by less balls. A real paradox. "Udelco" has pitter-pattering rhythmic pulses while synth lines meander on top--the near tabla drumwork and Casio fidelity only deepen the mystery. The closing "Neptune City, NJ" gets into the most spacey territory on the album, letting the tape close off in drifting synth that undulates pitch shifted rides as your head slips below the waters to reveal the bevy of coral beneath. Who knew it was so colorful under there...

Killer tape and yes, it's from a bit ago, but I figured that you can never have too much Ducktails, and this is one of the best. Simple stark palm tree themed art that's spot on.

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