Get Bleak (ep)
Bobo Integral Records
I haven’t been this hooked on a simple little four-song EP for some time – but I can’t stop listening to Get Bleak, the debut set from Toronto-based Ducks Unlimited.
These are classic jangle-pop songs that feel like the Pavement-lite version of Flying Nun at times. That pick up on adjacent sounds like The Go-Betweens but would also line up with more contemporary acts like Engine Summer.
The title track kicks us off, it’s probably the best song – a hooky little homily about millennial isolation which lead singer Tom Mcgreevy describes best as “a song about this idea that moving somewhere else is going to solve all your problems.” The decent droll one-liners just happen to be married to Johnny Marr-like snatches of melodically wonderful flavour-bites.
But I think most of the great and effortless jangly pop of The Chills and even those Kilgour moments on various solo and Clean songs. Just that charming vibe too.
Gleaming Spires has another Smiths-like guitar line to lead us in but then its pure 90s/00s skinny-kid pop, on a level where you’re expecting this to soundtrack many indie-movie montages. It almost sounds like where The Strokes could/should have done after their debut album…
Annie Forever is the most musical introspective piece here – just a delightful little maudlin ballad. Nothing remarkable about it – but still some good lines and great delivery. The other really strong song here though is the closer, Anhedonia, with its lines that sock the jaw of even the most stoned-over slacker, “If you’re ever in the mood to dis-associate babe, give me a call”. And later “if you’re ever in the mood to get resentful baby, I’m your man” It really does remind me of early-90s David Kilgour in terms of the tone of the guitars and the tone-of-voice.