For those of us who often find ourselves watching videos on music websites such as this one, the “beachy” video is nothing new. I’ve even visited the trope once or twice in my own work. Images of sand, sea, and sun just seem to fit so well with the lo-fi bittersweet nostalgia of Ducktails. And the track “Applewalk” evokes a late-night jam around a bonfire, so it is no surprise that Ducktails went the “beachy route” for this particular video.
But there is something a little different about this one, and it has a lot to do with the figure of Ducktails’ Matt Mondanile in the video. When we first see him, he is walking down a path — presumably towards the beach — playing guitar and wearing a long-sleeved sweater. In other sequences — Matt Mondanile standing on a rock surrounded by water, Matt Mondanile playing guitar in an abandoned building — his attire becomes a bit more appropriate, but his attitude toward his surroundings remains equally blasé.
There is a certain amount of humor in this. When something is funny in such subtle strokes, I feel the need abandon my post structuralist inclinations and start wondering about the intent of the author. It certainly seems like Mondanile is in on the joke here. This is supported by the fact that his current Myspace picture is a still from this video of him playing guitar on a rock, with an image of Free Willy superimposed above his head. It is also supported by the presence of the long-haired beach bum character at the end of the video. Unlike Mondanile, this fellow seems to really fit with the environment of the beach. Judging from the structure that he is sitting under, he seems — literally — to be at home there. He and Mondanile are happy to see each other, but they don’t seem to be from the same world.
Perhaps the sentiment here is that although we can all agree that the beach is a wonderful place and indulge in a certain amount of nostalgia regarding nature, those of us who are trying to succeed in an urban space and struggling with “real world” concerns will always be a little bit removed from natural environments such as the one portrayed in this video. Unless we are willing to grow our hair out and build a hut on the beach, there will always be a feeling of distance. That being said, could this be the “beachy” video to end all “beachy” videos? We shall see…
Words: Samantha Cornwell
“Apple Walk” is a track on Ducktails’ Mirror Image 7″, out June 30 on SHDWPLY Records.