Live Review
Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

Photography by Polly Rappaport

It’s never a proud moment when you find yourself looking helplessly round a dark, crowded room, trying to establish who would be least likely to think you’re a total freak if you sheepishly ask them, “Sorry, but… This is Ducktails, isn’t it?” We’re definitely in the right place, it’s the right time, Matthew Mondanile is a relatively distinctive looking guy, and that’s unquestionably him up there with the guitar, but… essentially, the expectation of a lone kid, hunched over a sampler, making woozy drone vibes is pretty much shattered.

The Real Estate guitarist’s solo project has sprouted a few extra members, and looks for all the world like a standard indie pop band. Comparatively speaking, they sound quite like one as well; the new work seems primarily based around songwriting and melodies, rather than the treacly psychedelia Ducktails has hitherto been known for. But it’s a subdued kind of pop song that Mondanile now writes, as though he’s still feeling his way round, and while the very use of the word ‘song’ could throw some loyal fans, it’s not a complete departure and hints of surf and reverb remain. It’s just enough of a difference to double check the name of the band with the guy behind me though.

By Polly Rappaport