Ducktails – Jersey Devil

Album Review by Katie Hawthorne | 02 Oct 2017
  • Ducktails – Jersey Devil
Album title: Jersey Devil
Artist: Ducktails
Label: New Images
Release date: 6 Oct

Matt Mondanile describes this record as one fuelled by sunshine and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, but the result is something far more cosmic. Jersey Devil took two years of work, which Mondanile began in LA (just before he confirmed his departure from Real Estate) in a cramped, home-made studio. It was only after moving home to New Jersey, and taking up residence in his mum’s basement, that the record fully took shape.

Fitting for a basement-built record, Mondanile's returned to a lo-fi, jazz-inflected intimacy – a sound he's preferred in the past – but his hushed vocals cut surprisingly deep. Jersey Devil feels initially like breezy easy-listening, but it turns out to be a shaded, more nuanced record than the clear-cut college rock of his previous solo record, St. Catherine. Expect intimate details of awkward childhood encounters and an uneasy, dreamy nostalgia: Jersey Devil is a quiet, psychedelic trip through the musician's inner workings, with the kind of brutal self-assessment that you can only access from revisiting a childhood home.

The record oscillates between earthly comforts (In the Hallway / Keeper of the Garden) and galactical ponderings (Map to the Stars), but Mannequin – a charming, disquieting simile for a claustrophobic relationship – best shows off Mondanile's ambition to step out on his own terms.

Listen to: Mannequin, Wearing a Mask, Keeper of the Garden