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The Flower Lane

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
Beginning as a meandering bedroom project, Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile's solo work as Ducktails existed first as a contrast to his band's more traditional restrained guitar pop. Early cassette releases saw Mondanile dousing noodly guitar lines with phaser and experimenting with raw electronics and stony, repetitious patterns, predating the chillwave phenomena and always riding a few feet above the red-eyed output of similarly minded chillers. By the time the third proper album Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics showed up in early 2011, even a Panda Bear cameo didn't suggest any changes to the lo-fi aesthetic and homespun vibes that had been in play all along. The songs...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
Beginning as a meandering bedroom project, Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile's solo work as Ducktails existed first as a contrast to his band's more traditional restrained guitar pop. Early cassette releases saw Mondanile dousing noodly guitar lines with phaser and experimenting with raw electronics and stony, repetitious patterns, predating the chillwave phenomena and always riding a few feet above the red-eyed output of similarly minded chillers. By the time the third proper album Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics showed up in early 2011, even a Panda Bear cameo didn't suggest any changes to the lo-fi aesthetic and homespun vibes that had been in play all along. The songs were a little shorter but still largely instrumental and wandering. The Flower Lane, on the other hand, is a game changer, finding Mondanile stepping up every aspect of the project from songwriting to production to instrumentation. Enlisting buddies Big Troubles as his backing band, as well as vocal help from Madeline Follin of Cults, the sound is definitely that of a full ensemble, no longer the four-track demo style that defined earlier work. Crisp production brings out the full-band sound, but also brings an acute focus to the streamlined songwriting, which represents Mondanile's most focused and intentional work to date with either Ducktails or Real Estate. Drawing on a wide range of introspective pop influences, The Flower Lane picks up hints from early sad-hearted indie bands like Felt, the Chills, and the Go-Betweens, and even strays into the funky, spacious territory of indie bands that crossed over into dance rhythms, such as Orange Juice and Style Council. More synth-heavy arrangements come to a head on "Letter of Intent," a nostalgic drum machine-driven slow-burner featuring guest vocals from Jessa Farkas and synth work from Oneohtrix Point Never wunderkind Daniel Lopatin. The song's molasses pace comes closer to '80s R&B production than anything else on the album and kills dead almost any resemblances the album had to the previous Ducktails sound. Mondanile's often wavering relationship with vocal pitch seems to have cleared up as he's streamlined his songwriting as well. Soft-edged and jangly tracks like "Ivy Covered House" and "Timothy Shy" are some of the most fully realized songs in a career built on delightfully half-baked ideas and more rooted in feeling than technique. Only album closer "Academy Avenue" is reminiscent of the open-hearted Ducktails from early bedroom-recorded 7" days with its bright-eyed acoustic guitar. Though Mondanile has tucked in the phaser-burnt guitar somewhat, the move toward more sophisticated and contemplative songcraft makes The Flower Lane a more fulfilling and enjoyable listen. The amount of growth is staggering, and moving from the hazy-headed territory of older Ducktails to songwriting this polished and still pulling it off speaks volumes for the purity of the project's development, as well as Mondanile's refreshed vision as an artist.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/29/2013
  • Label: Domino
  • UPC: 801390032721
  • Catalog Number: 327
  • Sales rank: 73,551

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Ivy Covered House (3:29)
  2. 2 The Flower Lane (4:28)
  3. 3 Under Cover (6:09)
  4. 4 Timothy Shy (4:04)
  5. 5 Planet Phrom (3:30)
  6. 6 Assistant Director (3:54)
  7. 7 Sedan Magic (4:41)
  8. 8 International Date Line (1:58)
  9. 9 Letter of Intent (5:18)
  10. 10 Academy Avenue (2:49)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ducktails Primary Artist
Joel Ford Bass, Vocals
Matthew Mondanile Synthesizer, Guitar, Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals
Al Carlson Flute
Daniel Lopatin Synthesizer
Sam Franklin Synthesizer, Drums, Vocals
Madeline Follin Vocals
Ian Drennan Synthesizer, Keyboards, Electric Piano, Saxophone, Vocals
Alex Craig Guitar, Vocals
Luka Usmiani Bass
Jessa Farkas Vocals
Sam Mehran Guitar
Martin Courtney Piano
Technical Credits
Peter J. Gutteridge Composer
Ducktails Composer, Producer
Matthew Mondanile drum machine
Al Carlson Producer, Engineer
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