Ducktails: Jersey Devil Review

By Giovanni Villalta
Music Journalist

Artist: Ducktails
Album: Jersey Devil
Release Date: September 15, 2017
Label: Self-Released

Matt Mondanile, the former lead guitarist of Real Estate, returns to the hypnagogic pop scene with his solo project’s new album Jersey Devil. Though Ducktails does not necessarily delve into any new territory that hasn’t already been explored by the likes of Mac Demarco and Kurt Vile, the Jersey-based band still manages to explore sounds that have not been heard in their previous releases.

Jersey Devil begins with the lead single “Map to the Stars,” a synth-heavy introductory tune that sets the tone for the rest of the album, which relies predominantly on a drum machine and beautiful keys. Mondanile’s lyrical romanticism is then felt in the following song “Light A Candle,” which begs the listener to “Light a candle for the two of us/Let it burn until it fades to dust.” The somber mood is further reinforced by the heavy reverb placed on Mondanile’s vocals, which when paired together with harmonious tones by the lead guitar or stabbing synths, adds an extra layer of chorus to the song. Songs like “Wearing a Mask” and “Shattered Mirror Travel” are reminiscent of 80s new wave bands such as New Order, with the heavy use of simple drum pattern paired with ambient but constantly moving guitar riffs. One common issue with this “droop pop” that relies on echo-y effects is the monotone that can occur from the lack of diversity; however, while Jersey Devil may not go anywhere new throughout its track list, it does not need to. In fact, it is exactly where it needs to be and is a perfect example of a band’s maturity while still managing to keep true to its sound.

Ducktails is currently touring the UK, and will make its way over to Asia and the United States in the upcoming months.


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