Album of the Week: Ducktails / Jersey Devil

Dim the lights, take the phone off the hook and prepare to float in the nostalgic haze of Jersey Devil – the sixth full-length from Ducktails, the solo project of Matt Mondanile.

Since his 2009 debut Mondanile has been blending a lo-fi production style with indie-pop reminiscent of his former band Real Estate. Setting Ducktails apart is Mondanile’s fondness for woozy, ethereal synth soundscapes made ever more appealing by virtue of recording songs directly to cassette. Upon the release of his debut in 09’ Mondanile stated “I like the idea of everything being as raw-sounding as possible”, a concept explored in generous detail on Jersey Devil.  

Album opener Map To The Stars is mystical and spacious through virtue of a small orchestra of synths that Mondanile employs, immersing the listener. Atonal sweeps swish above pared-back verses while high-pitched droning synths shimmer amidst spacious choruses. In Keeper Of The Garden rising metallic guitars, sounding as though emitted from a broken automaton, underscore a lament of lost love and in Lover and Mannequin Mondanile experiments tentatively with groove and rhythm.

The deeply engaging appeal of Jersey Devil lies in it being a snapshot of a lost cultural moment; of the cosy warm nostalgia that we today associate with anachronistic recording and production techniques circa the 60s to the 90s made modern. It appeals to the daydreamer, the reclusive-thinker, the inner escapist by encouraging either lucid thought or none at all. More simply, Jersey Devil is a unique blend of familiar, beloved styles made fresh and new by their interweaving.

Catch the hazy video for Map To The Stars below: