February 16, 2011

Test Spin: Ducktails III

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The man behind the one-man act, commonly referred to as Ducktails, is Matt Mondanile of Real Estate. This psychedelic pop guitarist released a new album called Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics on Jan. 10. “Laid back” would not be able to aptly describe the style of the release. With a blend of melodic guitar work layering over toned down versions of heavier beats, Mondanile creates a unique summer sound that stimulates us during the coldest months of winter.

The highlights of the album are definitely the songs “Killin’ The Vibe,” a four minute track featuring the vocals of Panda Bear (from Animal Collective) and “Porch Projector”, a ten minute improvised outro that  fleshes out Mondanile’s ability to play, layer and create. The Panda Bear collaboration introduces the same detached sense that we’ve gotten used to from Animal Collective.

Mondanile’s music gains greater validity when you learn that he plays all of the instruments on his tracks himself. Although his voice is rough at best, it is the right style to accompany his ethereal mood music. This may not be the most accessible album, but its actually a move towards pop for Mondanile, compared to some of his other work.

The only drawback to the album is that after listening to it straight through, the songs start to blend together and it is hard to remember when one track ended and another began. Although this could be considered both a good and bad thing, the effect is that the album feels like one long sleepy summertime dream. If you’ve had dreamless sleep though, put it on. It’s great to zone out to, but there is no part of the album that leaps out as something you’re going to put in your top ten playlist. Arcade Dynamics may not be for everyone, but it definitely is a unique refreshing warm breeze among this winter’s releases.

— Clio Chang

Original Author: Clio Chang