Ducktails: Confetti For Memories
I listened to Ducktails’ Landscapes onceonce!and was disappointed by its apparent simplicity. I set it aside while many other albums came into my life and piled atop its strange, hot pink cover art.
I listened to Ducktails’ Landscapes again just a few days ago. Somehow, between that first time and now, the album’s mellow charms and sweet melodies found their way into my chest and into my mind, planted themselves there, to reappear suddenly, without calling first, like old friends after months or even years apart, like memories stirred by nothing in particular, showing themselves to be more beautiful than ever, and, thankfully, still the same.
Sometimes I wonder what’s wrong with my brain.
What stupid part of me refused to appreciate this obvious beauty right from the start? It happens all the time. Happens with women, too. At least records stay put, allow you to come back to them without penalty or loss. Landscapes was still there, waiting for me, thank god, beneath all those other records, until I was ready. Women, on the other hand, move on. As they should, as they should move on.
And this album, incidentally, seems to be about those things: Memories, friendship, love, loss. Inside the album sleeve, you’ll find a photocopied inserta letter from Charles to Mattwhich opens with an exclamation: “It’s confetti for memories!”
And it is. Landscapes is confetti for memories. Landscapes is a gentle explosion, a celebration, a million little colorful gestures falling from open windows to litter the unsuspecting streets below.
I mean, just let the needle drop into this exceptionally quiet vinyl and listen to the intoxicating flow of “Wishes,” coursing its way through a wide-open sunset sky, all phased-out guitar, twisting and twirling like seaside clouds atop a deep-pocket groove. You want to be there, where the rooftops are so close to the ground you can practically jump up onto them from the gravelly streets below, and the houses are all windsmacked and weary and wear years and years and years of faded yellow, pink, and blue.
Or listen to “Deck Observations,” with its pulsing electronics, all sinuous and constant and warm, like bamboo wood chimes chiming, dangling, dancing from the ceiling of a screened-in porch and played by some soft summer winds. Listen to the jangly acoustic pop of “Spring,” or the new wave tones and primitive hip hop beats of “Landrunner.” Matt Mondanile comes in like Prince’s Purple Rain, making his guitar sound like a thousand thunderstorms.
There is something undeniably Eighties about this all, and something undeniably Jersey. I can’t help but think of the scene in The Karate Kid when Daniel and his mom take off in their old station wagon, leaving the toxic gloom of Newark for the palm trees and sunshine and ninjas of Reseda. And while that sounds silly and superficial, there is also something very dear and true about it; it’s a part of my childhood, too, and Landscapes reveals it somehow. It's confetti for memories, and I enjoy reveling in all its warm, warbling, intoxicating comforts.