Matthew Mondanile didn’t grow up near the beach, nor, despite the blogosphere’s inclination to toss his music into the grating chillwave category, is his New Jersey neighborhood particularly chill. One of the musicians in a surge of talent from northern New Jersey (he also plays guitar in Real Estate), Mondanile is also one of many performing in a one-man band. Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics is Ducktails’ third full-length album amongst a plethora of cassettes—a physical representation of the nostalgia that permeates Arcade Dynamics—and 7-inches released on labels including Not Not Fun, Olde English Spelling Bee, Goaty Tapes and more.
Beachy, instrumental prelude “In The Swing” gets things in such a swing, waylaying into the reverberating swoon of single “Hamilton Road,” a relaxing ditty that ends almost as swiftly as it began. But this is part of Arcade Dynamics’ charm: the release is pop-friendly with few tracks making the three-minute mark, until the fuzz of ambient outro “Porch Projector” kicks in. “Arcade Shift” shifts the dynamics from the colorful world of Frogger to the minimalist Asteroids with heavy drum machines and the retro-future reverberations once reserved for the totally epic (i.e. campy) travels-in-space flick. But love for lo-fidelity and days gone by isn’t solely reserved for the ’70s and ’80s yearning: the guitar- and tambourine-driven “Art Vandelay” is a name recognizable as Seinfeld character and perennial loser George Constanza’s more successful alter-ago who came into his own in the days of silvery CDs.
“Killin The Vibe,” on which Mississippi ukulele-man Dent May and Woods’ Jarvis Taveniere guest, is the only anachronism as it takes a detour to a chant-filled Animal Collective Land (Panda Bear was featured on the single version of the track) where repetition and matchy-matchy vocal and guitar patterns reign.