Boomkat Product Review:
Everyone’s favourite psych-pop charmer Matthew Mondanile aka Ducktails gives a necessary dose of late summer pop vitamins with Jersey Devil, his first new album in two years, written in his mom’s Jersey basement where “…Everything felt right: the mini mall across the street, the stock brokers walking their dogs, and the sweet summer smell in the air.”
Under a title evocative of late night X-Files binges and nostalgic boogeymen, Jersey Devil is, as you might expect, conversely a sort of fluffy comfort blanket for tender pop souls; very easy on the ear and blessed with the kind of breezy flow that makes Mondanile’s music so widely appealing. Honestly, if you’ve never been snagged on one of his effortless, wistful hooks, you might need to see a doctor, or exorcist, or something.
After clearing his cache with the Daffy Duck In Hollywood compilation earlier this year, the material here is all new and all-American in the most classic way, sashaying from the flute-led yacht boogie gilding of Map To The Stars to the buoyant bob of Rising Sun with an near ineffable magick that can’t be denied.
It’s ultimately American in the utopian, but knowing, way that Prefab Sprout’s Paddy McAloon picked up on, aware of its cheesiness but equally in thrall to it; as with the fuzzy romantic burn of Light A Candle and the over-easy distortion that barbecue Keeper Of The Garden’s perfect pop chops, while Solitary Star licks in some lush Paul Simon influences, and Wearing A Mask sees thru it all with lines like “Stuck on the road looking at your phone, i know you’d rather be anywhere else” and “wearing a mask with a smile on / deep down you’re an angry little boy” playing bittersweetly at odds with the mid-tempo, bayside boogie vibe that carries us to the cruising, heavy-lidded disco beauty of Shattered Mirror Travel.”
It’s a brilliant, pretty much flawless album. A family bucket of soft focus pop.