Ducktails, “St. Catherine”

Ducktails_St-Catherine_CoverDucktails
St. Catherine
DOMINO
7/10

As narrated by Matthew Mondanile himself in St. Catherine’s melodic lead single “Headbanging in the Mirror,” the guitarist for the Brooklyn-via-New-Jersey dream-pop outfit Real Estate relocated—not too long ago—to the sunnier climes of Los Angeles, where he wrote and recorded his latest solo album as Ducktails. It’s his most personal and, perhaps, most traditional affair yet, with autobiographical lyrics and more pastoral, baroque arrangements—less jazzy and effect-laden than 2013’s The Flower Lane.

Still present, though, is Mondanile’s ability to craft compelling, textured movements with a very specific mood, a skill best displayed in St. Catherine’s instrumental tracks: the waltzing, Casio-driven opener “The Disney Afternoon” and the ethereal “Krumme Lanke.” His repeated use of certain instruments—acoustic guitars, organ-based drum machines, cheap keyboards with character—gives the album a unified feel, one that’s filtered through the warm, hazy lens of Los Angeles.

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