The general rule of a rodeo is that you have eight seconds to last in order to be considered successful. The bull rider walks out, waves their hat at the crowd, mounts the great beast and gives a show to the people. Now, if it’s their first rodeo, typically they are thrown off the bull. If it’s not their first rodeo, they show just how successful they can be within those measly eight seconds. With Ducktails, well, this ain’t their first rodeo.
Ducktails have five LPs prior to Arcade Dynamics, with each ride getting more wild and bucky than the last. They open with “In the Swing,” which is them walking out to the middle of the arena, waving their hat and telling the audience, “Listen, we have this.” Then they proceed to mount the beast and ride it smoothly for the entirety of the album.
The album itself is not a testament on how they can control the wild, but how they contain their ideals within a glossy (in its raw recording way) and sensible creation. Every guitar chord and accompanying lyric (if there are any on the track) compliments each other with the minimal percussions. A note is neither bucked off nor holding on tightly for no reason, all the way to the end of the ride.
When you listen to Arcade Dynamics, you won’t typically think of a rodeo. You will find it as soothing as sitting in the lead singers garage, listening to him play you “a couple of things that are working.” And they do. Because, in fact, it is not their first rodeo.