Ducks Ltd. Sheets of Grey
Ducks Ltd burst onto the scene with their razor-sharp lyrics and instantly memorable jangle-pop in late 2019 and have not let up since. Following the release of their critically acclaimed, and end-of-year-list lauded, debut LP, Modern Fiction, on Carpark Records in 2021 the band is back today with their latest single. On “Sheets of Grey” lead singer and guitarist, Tom McGreevy writes about one of his dearest topics; the liminal space between the inertia of depression. The ebb and flow of these feelings are evidenced in the rather monotone verses which are swept into the uptempo choruses in high register. “Sheets of Grey” is not all bleak, though, as the band attempts to scrape together a small silver lining while the darkness is closing in. While, thematically, it was not fit for the album, “Sheets of Grey” is worthy of its own release to cement its place in the Ducks Ltd. catalog.
Ducks Ltd. are a Toronto band featuring Australian lead guitarist Evan Lewis and U.K-born, U.S.-raised singer, bassist, and rhythm guitarist Tom McGreevy. As Ducks Ltd., the two thrive on skirting the edges of buoyant jangle pop and driving power pop. Their latest album, Harm’s Way, contains anxious songs that McGreevy explains are “about struggling. About watching people I care for suffer, and trying to figure out how to be there for them. And about the strain of living in the world when it feels like it’s ready to collapse.”
Harm’s Way is an undeniable evolution of Ducks Ltd.’s songwriting process. Where their critically acclaimed 2021 debut Modern Fiction and 2019 EP Get Bleak were self-recorded and self-produced in a Toronto basement, here, they made an LP in Chicago with producer Dave Vettraino and some of their favorite musicians. These collaborators include Finom’s Macie Stewart, Ratboys’ Julia Steiner and Marcus Nuccio, Dehd’s Jason Balla, Moontype’s Margaret McCarthy, Lawn’s Rui De Magalhaes, Dummy’s Nathan O’Dell, and Patio’s Lindsey-Paige McCloy. Ducks Ltd.’s touring drummer Jonathan Pappo also appears on the LP.
The band first showed this collaborative streak on a 2023 covers EP, which featured guests like Mo Troper, Ratboys, Illuminati Hotties, and Jane Inc. that boasted renditions of songs by The Cure, The Feelies, and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Where those songs started as ideas on days off from tour, Harm’s Way is also a product of writing on the road while supporting acts like Nation of Language and Archers of Loaf. “When we got signed, we had played maybe five or six shows ever,” says McGreevy. “After last year, it’s well in the hundreds. Those things change your perception of your own music and songwriting.”
This well-earned and road-tested confidence made the making of this LP their most intuitive and organic yet. “Our relationship is built on trust and we don’t let our egos come into the creative process in any way,” says Lewis. “We have this really great thing where every decision with the band is filtered through both of us. Here especially, we really figured out how to make something that truly sounds like us.”