“The Flower Lane” by Ducktails

January 29. 2013 | By Patryk Mrozek

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Ducktails
The Flower Lane
[Domino]

If you went to a Ducktails show sometime last year and thought The Flower Lane was
going to sound like another Real Estate album, then, well, it doesn’t. With the help from a handful of talented friends, including all of the members of Big Troubles and the ambient drone producer Oneohtrix Point Never, Matt Mondanile shows a work of impressive stylistic range and remarkable depth, holding true to his reputation as the “experimental one” in the beloved New Jersey-bred outfit.

The Flower Lane succeeds by building up sonic diversity and color on top of the psychedelic jangle of its predecessor, Arcade Dynamics. The songwriting is intricate and
focused, almost “golden age of pop”-like, with funky, memorable bass lines and plenty of
great-sounding keyboard licks providing counterpoint. The titular track channels quirky
classic-rock individuals like Todd Rundgren, while “Letter of Intent” marries ‘80s synth-
pop with slinky R&B (guest vocalists Jessa Farkas and Ian Drennan do an outstanding
job here). Mondanile also gives a nod to his more avant-garde inspirations (in the krauty
“International Date Line”), and pens the sweetest disco-infused piece of coziness (“Under
Cover”).

The album makes plenty of references but never acts like a throwback; it sounds almost like glimpses of alternate futures for a number of classic pop niches. It is a playful exploration of the limits of catchy songwriting and everything we could’ve hoped for from Ducktails this year.

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