Matt Mondanalie is not a man who likes to take the easy option, in recent years he’s parted ways with childhood friends and Domino staples Real Estate and relocated to Los Angles where he “didn’t really know anyone” to focus on his solo project Ducktails, with whom (whom being himself) he is currently on a European tour, a shared bill with two ‘alternative producers’.
Playing a Friday night to a sold out show at London’s Lexington, opening acts Spencer Clark and James Ferraro where not the obvious choice to gently coax the audience in preparation for Ducktail’s infectious psych-pop. Sounding like John Cage suffering from amnesia and having had his prepared piano replaced with an 8-bit keyboard loaded with floppy disks of orchestra hits and movie sound effects, they provided what can polity be described as experimental soundscapes, or impolitely as self indulgent noise making, a bold move especially when taking equal stage time to Ducktails.
Notably absent of backing band Mondanalie took to the stage with only a guitar and a handful of effects pedals to win-back over the slightly noticeably irritated crowd. Opening with ‘Head Banging in the Mirror’ and ‘Super Exposure’ from the 2015 album St Catherine he soon did. His lack of colleagues had no impact on his sound, his loop pedal providing the reverb-laden synths, bass and drums in their place, the time taken to replicate the songs worthy of attention it’s self.
Playing to a backdrop of photographs from his current tour he was full of his goofy American charm and noticeably a little drunk he was keen on audience interaction encouraging the crowd to “Do shots with me”. Ducktails where certainly here not just to provide, but also to have a good time. The set comprised of more conventional songs than experimental, with a set list of new and old material both receiving equal admiration. Bringing warm Americana to a drizzly London summers day with his impeccable guitar playing, well rehearsed set and softly melodic voice.
Going it alone is one thing, but physically going it alone on stage is another, and with little more than a guitar and backing tracks Ducktails Left the audience with enough of his beautiful hazy-pop to be stuck in their heads for weeks to come. Perhaps the self prescribed difficulties where the right choice