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 ten 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).
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, Eliza Niemi on cello, and backing harmonies from Carpark labelmates The Beths. While back in his native Australia, Evan worked closely with producer James Cecil (The Goon Sax, Architecture in Helsinki) on Modern Fiction’s finishing touches, including adding a string quartet to several songs,
It’s danceable, depressive fun, with some relief. “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.
How Lonely Are You?
Under the Rolling Moon
Fit to Burst
Patience Wearing Thin
Sullen Leering Hope
'Twere Ever Thus
Grand Final Day
- US import
- Limited-edition LP pressed on milky-white vinyl, housed in reverse-board gatefold jacket with wide 8mm spine; contains download coupon
- CD housed in reverse-board gatefold jacket with wide 7mm spine
Ducks Ltd. - Get Bleak 12" EP
also on Carpark Records:
Naomi Alligator - Concession Stand Girl 12" EP
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