The Flower Lane
Prior to The Flower Lane, Ducktails seemed to mostly function as a way for Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile to experiment with riffs and rhythms in a low-fi setting. His latest release kicks things up several notches by tightening the songwriting and fleshing out the arrangements. The Flower Lane owes more to ‘70s-era jazz/pop and the ‘80s hipster soul of The Style Council. Lightly funky guitars and tingling analog synths lend aural polish to “Under Cover,” the title number, and similar slices of suburban cool. Guest vocal spots by Future Shuttle’s Jessa Farkas and Cults’ Madeline Follin on, respectively, “Letter of Intent” and “Sedan Magic” add to the album’s sleek yet moody sound. The presence of indie pop unit Big Troubles can be felt in the insistent pulse of tracks like “Timothy Shy” and “Assistant Director.” Mondanile’s yearning, slightly off-key vocals contrast with the album’s surface gloss and bring out the bittersweet romantic edge in the lyrics. The closing track, “Academy Avenue,” recalls Ducktails' experimental beginnings with its woozy instrumental weave and insular, slightly unhinged outlook.