Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Predator Vision, II, Future Sounds/Abandon Ship, 2008

Matt Mondanile and his co-conspirators are certainly working a lot of bikinis in a twist these days, blowing up the blogosphere as the DIY forerunners of a new “beach pop” phenomenon. The hype surrounding Ducktails and Real Estate is well deserved, but dwelling too much on the “drinking a pina colada in black Ray-Bans and an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt” aesthetic undermines their breadth and talent as musicians.

Predator Vision, a prog/metal trio uniting Mondanile (Ducktails, Real Estate), Etienne Duguay (Real Estate, Cave of Time), and Ben Daly (Wavehead), transports us out of the Jersey Shore and into a basement in Amherst, Massachusetts, blinking our eyes against a screen of red Nag Champa smoke and the remains of last night’s beer pong. Western Mass, after all, is the place where all three of these guys spent their college years, and Predator Vision’s second offering gives us a good idea of all the late afternoon noodling that made them the musicians they are today.

Who is who and what is what here generally gets lost in the squall, but the album is two parts guitar (Mondanile and Daly) and one part drums (Duguay), with a guest appearance by the mighty Jeremy Pisani (Red Favorite, Jow-Jow The Death Knell Rung) on bass. Elongated guitar drones, plucked blues motifs, and bass hooks worthy of Ozzy himself combine in a jubilant Brillo Pad of feedback and missed musical connections, buoyed by an unstoppable rhythmic pulse. Predator Vision is clearly the kind of setting in which Duguay can truly shine, and his drum work on this album can range everywhere from a light, Corsano-style pitter-patter to the sound of twenty Hells Angels headbanging in unison.

After the cultural and musical melting pot of track one, Pisani leads the gang in a bass-heavy elephant stomp through the Sahara, pushing past fronds of guitar reverb and pockets of buzzing flies. And just when we become too thirsty for words, there it is again, materializing out of the shimmering heat—a patch of blue, a waterlogged guitar melody reminding us that Ducktails, far from his native New Jersey, is still alive and well. Or is it just a mirage?

It will be well worth your time to keep tabs on these guys over the upcoming year, even if it takes some time for Pisani to find his way back into the mix. Until then, keep your eyes peeled for the Predator Vision/Sun Araw Split, which should be a party and a half.

Words: Emilie Friedlander
Photo: Abandon Ship

Originally published on Foxy Digitalis, Winter 2009

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