“Wish Hotel” by Ducktails
Wish Hotel EP
Whether with Real Estate or side project Ducktails‘ Matthew Mondanile seems to be retracing the history of popular music…backwards. His “day band’s” first LP suggested a jovial devotion to ‘90s slacker-rock, which, by the time of Days, gave way to a sound clearly indebted to British and Kiwi bands of the mid-eighties. When Ducktails’ last proper album came out earlier this year though, the critics were eager to pinpoint the wealth of Steely Dan-like harmonies and classic rock shredding. Now, Wish Hotel makes use of all the above tropes in a mixture that sounds unmistakably Ducktails, yet this time with open nods to a psychedelic ‘60s sound.
Nowhere is it more evident than in the eponymous track, which could as well be a peppy Tame Impala song. Whether intentional or completely random, that band’s style has a strong hold on the production of the EP, too: acidic and angular, hi-hat heavy with bouncy bass high in the mix. The Beatles-esque, wistful “Honey Tiger Eyes” is the obvious highlight in the bunch with heart-clenching synth and bass counterpoints and some of the best lyrics we’ve ever heard from Mondanile: “It took a second for you to notice / It took a little while for your to care.” We want to think that Wish Hotel offers insight into Matt Mondanile’s songwriting process: never completely pleased with one musical approach, he’s continuously fiddling with an arrangement he can already call his own.