Ducktails – St. Catherine

 

5/7

Initially the 2006 solo project of Real Estate’s guitarist, Matt Mondanile Ducktails released their 5th studio album, St. Catherine, this past summer. The dream-pop band that formed in New Jersey has grown to a four-piece that now includes Luka Usmiani, Alex Craig, and Samuel Franklin. The band’s name is a play off of the old Disney animated series Duck Tales which featured Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, and his grand nephews Huey, Dewy and Louie.

In the hippest vibes of the cassette resurgence, this eclectically indie-psychedelic group has released over a half dozen EPs and demos on cassette only. Although I personally no longer own a cassette player, I have utmost confidence that those who are in the cassette game would enjoy listening to Ducktails songs in this specific audio technology. In an interview with Tiny Mix Tapes Mondanile talks about his love of recording on cassettes “I like the idea of everything being as raw-sounding as possible, with nothing covering up the sound. It’s like the only thing covering it up might be the quality of the recording.” Although St. Catherine was released on multiple audio platforms it still has the slightly lo-fi live feeling.

St. Catherine shimmers in hazy nostalgia, thoughts of neighborhood BBQs and simpler times. It seems to slow thoughts, like a lazy afternoon. With an instrumental opener entitled “The Disney Afternoon” that calls back to their band name’s origin, adding a cartoony intro to the lulling album. A highlight from the album is “Headbanging in the Mirror” which in lulling tones sums up the feelings of the album with the lyrics “just let me come down from this speedy afternoon interior dream.”  It has a guitar part that is reminiscent of the timbre from Kurt Vile and the Violator’s Waking on a Pretty Daze.  The song  “Surreal Exposure” has twinkling instrumentation that is reminiscent of medieval times harpsicord, but perfectly suited for the 21st century. It sounds awake. If anything “Church” wakes you up further. Julia Holter’s contributed vocals float across a harmony, bringing a soft comfort to the monotonous march of the pulsating synth. Overall St. Catherine  is a pleasant album.

 

The track list is as follows:

  1. The Disney Afternoon
  2. Headbanging in the Mirror
  3. Into The Sky
  4. Heaven’s Room
  5. Catherine
  6. The Laughing Woman
  7. Surreal Exposure
  8. Church
  9. Medieval
  10. Krumme Lanke
  11. Reprise

Listen to “Headbanging in the Mirror” below.