The Flower Lane is the third studio album from this group, fronted by Real Estate’s Matt Mondanile. The band specializes in garage-esque, murky alternative rock music, though they take a step further into clarity with this release.
The album starts out on an unmistakably high note, with “Ivy Covered House,” which is one of those tracks that makes you yearn for that perfect sunny day so you can roll the windows down and just let the breeze ruffle your hair—it’s that glossy and smooth of a tune. This first number is just about as full of jangly guitar as possible and it is as though Matt Mondanile is evoking the style of his other band, Real Estate, which is far from a bad thing. Regardless, when the band circles around to the final repeated chorus after a short instrumental break, it’s impossible not to be onboard.
Though this is about as jangly as Ducktails go on this album, and the next few tracks put some distance between its sound and the others. Two tracks later on “Under Cover,” the band still has their swirling guitars, but have leapt into the realm of jazz, complete with saxophone interludes; it is safe to say that this isn’t a predictable Ducktails track. That being said, this album is quite a different step for the band, not only in a decrease of fuzziness via the production, as well as the different experimental directions they take.
But what is interesting about The Flower Lane is that if you skipped ahead to the latter part of the album, you’d probably be confused as to if you were still listening to the same band. Though they have already jumped a few genres earlier, there are a few tracks toward the end that don’t really seem to fit in with the rest of the tunes on this album. “Letter of Intent,” the second to last track on The Flower Lane, is really more electronic than anything Ducktails has put out up to this point in time, as it is a collaboration with Dan Lopatin on Synths, and the feminine vocal styling of Jessica Farkas of Future Shuttle. It’s a groovy number, but it really strikes hard as out of place after you’ve been listening to a primarily guitar motivated album. The track before it, at roughly two minutes long, “International Date Line,” retrospectively only feels as though preparation for the track that follows, but alas, it still doesn’t really sit right when the band returns to their ‘normal’ sound on the final track after it.
Even with this odd ending, this album is still one that has a number of good songs to entertain those who are a fan of garage rock. So if you haven’t yet, give Ducktails a spin.