Published Dec 04, 2019Jangle pop — that loose, chiming style of indie rock — is one of those genres that's easy to make, but deceptively hard to do well. Ducks Unlimited manage to make the whole thing look easy on their four-track debut EP, Get Bleak. Though clearly in thrall to jangle totems like Sarah, Postcard and Flying Nun Records, and NME's famous C86 comp, the quartet — made up members of local underground acts like Gay, Most People, Germaphobes and Grounders — manage to thread the needle between homage and rip-off, evoking their influences without ever sounding like one of them.
The production gives the band a shimmering, minimalist sheen, leaving plenty of space for simple guitar leads. But it's the band's rhythm section who really propel the whole thing — see Paul Erlichman's busy bass lines — ensuring things don't stall out mid-song.
Singer-guitarist Tom McGreevy injects a sense of ambivalence to the proceedings, most effectively on the title track. Though his vocal range is somewhat limited, it pairs particularly well with his lyrics, which effectively convey the lost-in-the-world miasma in which too many of us find ourselves floating.
Clocking in at just 12 minutes, Get Bleak offers a promising glimpse of great things to come; let's hope for a quick followup.
*An earlier version of this review misidentified the album's producer; it was produced by the band. Exclaim! regrets the error. (Bobo Integral)