Real Estate guitarist Matthew Mondanile’s solo side venture, Ducktails, carries on the tradition of lo-fi, short but sweet (although occasionally meanderingly jammy) experimental pop psychedelics of bands like Ariel Pink, War on Drugs, and great-grandaddies Guided By Voices. His third album, recorded at home without a whole lot of production value, sounds as such, but that’s exactly the appeal. His slightly muffled vocals and bright guitar tones render songs like the Dylan-esque “Hamilton Road” and the lilting “Killin’ the Vibe” charming in their simplicity. And at times, Mondanile gets interestingly weird, as on the spooky echo thumps of “The Razor’s Edge” or the stoned picking of the album’s last track, “Porch Projector.”
There are admittedly moments here when one wonders what the big deal is, as upon first pass, some of these songs sound like tunes any semi-capable basement musician could record him or herself. But taken as a whole, there’s something beyond the norm going on, a penchant for crafting concise nuggets of indie pop that skirt the border of oddity and make this album worth adding to your rotation.