Album Review Ducktails - St Catherine

‘St Catherine’ illustrates Ducktails’ propensity to write beautiful music.

Ducktails - St Catherine

Matt Mondanile deals in bliss. As well as playing in Real Estate, his Ducktails project goes from strength to strength, enjoying the fruits of touring with Big Troubles as a backing band and releasing a slew of records since 2006.

‘St. Catherine’ is unlikely to shock any fans - Matt turned Ducktails from a disparate sonic landscape into a sweeping, colourful indie-pop outfit a while back. Instead, the LP just illustrates his propensity to write beautiful music. The remarkable ‘Heaven’s Room’ showcases the luxuries Ducktails can now afford; a transcendent string arrangement builds on big, chorus-y guitars and pitter-patter ride cymbals, while title track ‘St. Catherine’ would fit in seamlessly on ‘Days’, the second-to-last Real Estate record, with phased electric guitar and crisp vocals.


Matt’s arrangements lend themselves to beautiful summer days, to long drives, to fresh-cut grass and watching grainy footage of your friends when the leaves start to fall again. Tracks like ‘Surreal Exposure’ are instantly nostalgic in a way that few can emulate; Christopher Owens can do it, Stuart Murdoch can do it, Matt Mondanile can do it. Droplets of piano and rasping acoustic guitar punctuate a chorus that’s only fleeting. The arrangements are concise, the blubber is trimmed to non-existence, and what’s left is a beautifully produced record filled with indie-pop gems for forgotten nights outdoors.

This is pop music that’s effortlessly cool while maintaining inclusivity; this is a rooftop party for everyone. ‘St. Catherine’ is a quasi-nostalgic LP that’s sonically soothing, while exhibiting finely-woven musical textures. It’s clever, without being intimidating or pretentious. It’s chill, essentially. ‘St. Catherine’ is patient, warm and kind.

Tags: Ducktails, Reviews, Album Reviews

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