Ducktails – St. Catherine
Ducktails’ Matt Mondanile’s musical day job is with indie middlers Real Estate, and that sums up part of my problem with it. There are very few Real Estate songs I can actually stand, and it’s been my longstanding opinion that the band is the Coldplay to Deerhunter’s Radiohead. This extends to side-projects; for my money, Atlas Sound and Lotus Plaza are much better diversions than Ducktails has ever been. If I’m being honest, however, there was a possibility that Ducktails might have won me over, had I been able to ignore the four albums they’d released previous to St. Catherine. There’s a certain loveliness to the arrangements, after all, a hazy sort of stoned beauty in the songs. The problem, however – the same problem I have with Mac DeMarco, incidentally – is that there’s nothing to really grasp onto on any of the songs. There are some clean Real Estate chords, some whipped-up old vintage synth noise, a lazily sung bit processed through one filter or another, and a bass guitar mixed high and burbling in the background. Despite all of these parts there’s nothing to really string them together; there are very few hooks on St. Catherine, and after several spins of the album I’m hard-pressed to come up with a single memorable moment.
St. Catherine is an album to try if you’re in the mood for something to be aimless and stoned to, but even then it’s going to wear thin about halfway through.