In the midst of winter’s cold shoulder melting away, Ducktails’ (side solo project of Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile) latest album The Flower Lane brings listeners one step closer to spring with 10 songs blooming with groovy vibes. “Ivy Covered House” has a chill demeanor with a funky guitar that complements Mondanile’s lax vocals. It really sets the mood for the rest of the album, followed by “The Flower Lane,” which casts an even trippier atmosphere with more lo-fi synthesizers.
“Under Cover” has a feel-good 80s vibe to it, projecting elements of soft rock with keyboards, horns and bass. “Under, do you want to go under the covers?” Mondanile smoothly teases. This is the track that makes the album spin in pirouettes, sending us off into a psychedelic parallel universe where anything goes.
Envision an awkwardly adorkable man narrating an encounter with a woman he has failed to properly pursue due to overanalyzing the situation in his head. “In the hallway, I felt anticipation/ I just want it to look away/ When I see you, my heart turns blue/ I act so shy, always around you,” Mondanile sings on “Timothy Shy.” The song sounds like something straight out of Mondanile’s noggin as he struggles to convey his intentions to his crush, backed by a steady piano and screeching guitar.
The album takes a turn somewhere out of this world halfway through the album, after “Planet Phrom.” From here on out, Mondanile puts the brakes on the tempo and takes a step away from the microphone, focusing more on instrumentation and featuring sets of fresh vocal pipes. Artists such as Madeline Follin of Cults and Jessa Farkas of Future Shuttle take the lead on “Sedan Magic” and “Letter of Intent”.
“Letter of Intent” is a quirky, modern-day love song with a beat that moves and grooves with ease. There’s something foxy about the way Mondanile and Farkas go back and forth on the chorus, hitting all the notes with a drawn out moan.
However, the major flaw that arises from The Flower Lane is that it lacks any emotional connection, as though Mondaline turned off his feelings with a switch. We get hindered from getting on Mondanile’s level because he’s not entirely there himself. He’s almost too chill to function.
Furthermore, the lyrics don’t have much depth to them either, projecting like a puddle of word vomit. “There is no more life in me/ Guess I’ll turn my head and hide away”, Mondanile sings on “Timothy Shy, ” a statement that seems a little too accurate. Regardless, every word sounds so soothing as it drips out of Mondanile’s mouth and floats into our ears.
But if fans are seeking guidance to a path that leads to a place of peace and simplicity, they need travel no further than The Flower Lane.