Review: Ducktails - "Daffy Duck in Hollywood"

Ducktails - Daffy Duck in Hollywood
(2017 New Images)

"God bless Donald Duck, Vaudeville and Variety", sang The Kinks on the title track of their 1968 LP, The Village Green Preservation Society, reminiscing on the thatched cottages and custard pies of British life in the pre-war era.

Never one to be upstaged in his love for anthropomorphic waterfowl, former Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile represents ducks licensed by both Disney and Hanna-Barbera on the cover of his new demo collection, recycling unfinished versions of his usual depictions of late-70s Americana. 

Taken as a whole, Daffy Duck in Hollywood is a blissed-out soundtrack to nothing in particular -- lush and unobtrusive as ferns in the lobby; inviting as the muzak that plays within it. Mondanile's rubbery jazz solos bounce off of soft-rock backing tracks like pinballs, lazily passing through lit gates and hitting their spring-loaded targets. On Rundgren-esque jam "The Patio", synths bob bouyantly to the rhythm of a solar-powered plastic flower that dances side-to-side on the windowsill. Grass-stained Wiffleballs dot the lawn like the heads of pimples. Wood-paneled station wagons pass by, their respective rumbles trailing off towards the freeway. 


"God save Tudor houses, antique tables, and billiards." The Kinks, 1968

"Sittin' in my treehouse, I can see the dogs. They run by past the Tudor on the corner." Ducktails, 2011


Ducktails and The Kinks are forever linked by their love for architecture, infrastructurally and sonically. Despite their prevailing lounge aesthetic, Mondanile's tunes often dip into the Kinks' Paisley patterns, especially on jangly tunes like side B opener "Emma's Trip". Daffy Duck's second half is much more diverse than its predecessor, exploring blown out shoegaze tones on "Carousel", gooey jazz beats like "San Gabriel Valley" that could easily fit into a Tyler The Creator record, and "Angel Wings", a Human League-influenced New Wave cut. 

Though not quite focused on a particular setting or place in time, Ducktails' new tape is the project's most nostalgic effort yet, honing in on the general feeling of reminiscence rather than the aesthetics that trigger it.