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DUCKS LTD.

Ducks Ltd.

Modern Fiction

    Toronto’s Ducks Ltd. (formerly Ducks Unlimited), the bright jangle-pop duo of Tom McGreevy (lead vocal, guitar, bass, keyboards) and Evan Lewis (guitar, bass, drum programming), accomplish the impossible. The pair craft songs that play to very specific inspirations without drowning underneath them—immediately evidenced on their critically acclaimed EP, Get Bleak, and sharpened on Modern Fiction, their debut LP. “The Servants, The Clean, The Chills, The Bats, Television Personalities, Felt,” Evan rattles off. “Look Blue Go Purple is one I reference a lot with our production.” Echoes of ‘80s indiepop abound, but they never overwhelm. This is not a nostalgic record, after all, nor is it a derivative one. Instead, across 10 cheery-sounding songs, Ducks Ltd. explore contemporary society in decline, examining large scale human disaster through personal turmoil (hence the title, taken from a university course called Gnosticism and Nihilism in Modern Fiction, influenced by Graham Greene novels. Bookish indie fans, look no further.)

    Writing the album was intimate. Tom drafted the nucleus of a song on an unplugged electric guitar and brought it over to Evan’s apartment, where the pair sat in his bedroom, placing percussive beats from a drum machine under nascent melodies, passing a bass back and forth, adding organs and bridges where necessary. “It’s computer music trying extremely hard not to sound like computer music,” Tom jokes. Fearful that limited and expensive studio time would kneecap the project creatively, eroding their charming naivete, the pair re-recorded the album in a storage space owned by Evan’s boss. Ornamentation through collaboration followed: there’s Aaron Goldstein on Pedal Steel in the Go-Betweens’ “Cattle and Cane”-channeling interlude “Patience Wearing Thin,” Eliza Niemi on cello (“18 Cigarettes,” a song loosely inspired by a 1997 Oasis performance of “Don’t Go Away”), and backing harmonies from Carpark labelmates The Beths (on an ode to friendship at a distance, “How Lonely Are You?,” “Always There,” and on the sped-up Syd Barrett stylings of “Under The Rolling Moon.”) While in his native Australia due to covid-19, Evan worked closely with producer James Cecil (The Goon Sax, Architecture in Helsinki) on Modern Fiction’s finishing touches—at one point, in the mountains of the Macedon Ranges in Victoria, recorded a string quartet (featured on “Fit to Burst,” “Always There,” “Sullen Leering Hope,” “Twere Ever Thus,” “Grand Final Day.”)

    It’s danceable, depressive fun, with some relief: in “Always There” and “Sullen Leering Hope,” Modern Fiction’s faithful heart. “There’s a tendency in my writing, because of my world view, to be very bleak.” Tom explains. “A quality I don’t always see in myself and really appreciate in others is the courage to go on.” And yet, the record manages resiliency—enough for pop fans to fall in love with. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Laura says: Absolutely loving this! For fans of McCarthy, Flying Nun Records, RBCF, Horsebeach, Goon Sax.... perfect sun-kissed jangle pop.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. How Lonely Are You?
    2. Old Times
    3. 18 Cigarettes
    4. Under The Rolling Moon
    5. Fit To Burst
    6. Patience Wearing Thin
    7. Always There
    8. Sullen Leering Hope
    9. 'Twere Ever Thus
    10. Grand Final Day

    Ducks Ltd.

    Get Bleak

      Composed of friends Evan Lewis, on lead guitar, and Tom Mcgreevy, on vocals and rhythm guitar, the band built a reputation in their hometown for their bright, sinewy, guitar sound while sharing bills with artists like Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Weyes Blood, The Goon Sax and Juan Wauters. They have earned accolades from Pitchfork who praised the band’s “lilting, throwback jangle pop,” and acclaim from outlets like NPR, Paste, NME, Apple Music 1, and more.

      The opening track, “Get Bleak” sets a thematic tone for the EP, one of cultural self-awareness and satiric critiques of society’s pressures and the often ridiculous demands – and prices we pay – to exist. Chiming with breezy indie guitar sounds akin to those of Flying Nun and Sarah Records acts, the track, that features a contribution from Laura Hermiston of Twist, pokes fun at the idea that moving from city to city will fix the problems in your life. Following suit is “Gleaming Spires”, a track that zeroes in on the cities we live in and the push-pull relationships that we so often share with them. “Anhedonia”, via it’s tightly-wound rhythm and nostalgia-inked guitars, shifts focus to the times when one is unable to wring any joy out of the things that they find important in life.

      Bringing the band’s characteristic restless bounce, thoughtful lyricism and penchant for orchestration, the tracks explore topics like troubled friendships (“It’s Easy”), self-destructive desires (“Oblivion”), and living with decline (“As Big As All Outside”) while maintaining the balance of earnest self-reflection and humor that endeared audiences to the original release.

      Full of the unbridled radiance of jangle-pop, the debut EP from Ducks Ltd.’s Get Bleak celebrates their strengths while expanding their thematic and compositional horizons, and providing an intriguing glimpse of what’s to come. 


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Laura says: Absolutely loving this! For fans of McCarthy, Flying Nun Records, RBCF, Horsebeach, Goon Sax.... Mega limited so don't miss out. Album to follow soon too!

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Get Bleak
      2. Gleaming Spires
      3. Annie Forever
      4. Anhedonia
      5. Oblivion
      6. As Big As All Outside
      7. It's Easy


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