Feature, News, Reviews

Ducks Ltd. Share Cover Of The Feelies’ “Invitation” With Mo Troper & Ratboys’ Julia Steiner

February 3, 2023
Photography: Christiane Johnston



Ducks Ltd are back with their first new song of 2023. Ahead of their tour with Archers of Loaf in February, the band has collaborated with power-pop stalwart Mo Troper and Ratboys’ Julia Steiner and a host of Toronto musicians, including Paul Erlichman, Kurt Marble, and Katie Ryan, to tackle The Feelies’ “Invitation.” A long-time favorite of the band, the cover was inspired by a Halloween performance in a Feelies cover band by guitarist Evan Lewis and several members of the Ducks Ltd. live band.

The new cover is the most recent installment of their series entitled The Sincerest Form of Flattery, which includes covers of The Cure’s “In Between Days” featuring Jane Inc. and The Jesus And Mary Chain’s “Head On”, with Illuminati Hotties’ Sarah Tudzin.

Speaking to the track, Tom McGreevy says; 

“In Toronto, it’s a really big thing on Halloween for bands to do cover sets where they dress up as the band they are covering. This year, Evan and a group of people who have all played in Ducks at one point or another got together to do a Feelies cover set and they were amazing! So good in fact that I immediately wanted to preserve their excellent cover band for posterity while also insinuating myself in the end result! It was a real family affair, with Paul Erlichman (who sometimes plays in our live band and does the string arrangements on our records), Katie Ryan(who used to play bass in our touring band) and the incomparable Kurt Marble (who used to be our live drummer) all playing on it. Another big part of what appealed about doing this cover was putting together a new vocal arrangement for the choruses, and so we got two artists who we really love to help us out with that, the Julia Steiner of Ratboys and Portland power pop icon Mo Troper. They’re both so good and have such distinct voices and it is super exciting to get to hear them on this song that I think about all the time. Feelies forever!”

Easily one of the most immersive releases to hear this year, a flawless cover. The new single is rich in affection whilst the ambitious and lush landscape develops around the audience. With the listener in the center of the complex composition, this striking sense of buoyancy cascades from the rapid momentum and the depth of the ambitious structure. With this incredible landscape showcasing its vast magnetism, the track exudes this immense range of rich affection.

Whilst the lyrics and the vocal harmonies bring this emotive weight to the arrangement, the bright tonality and compelling plethora of textures ignite this elevated presence to the overall mood and the crucial atmosphere.

Propelled by a fondness for boundless jangle-pop, Toronto’s Ducks Ltd. (formerly Ducks Unlimited, no association with the questionable waterfowl hunting nonprofit) is a duo that operates with the dynamism of a full band: Tom McGreevy (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards) and Evan Lewis (guitar, bass, drum programming) met at a Dilly Dally show around the time they were both applying for permanent residency and playing in different local bands, quickly recognizing something in each other: a resolute love of underrated ‘80s indiepop a la Sarah Records (specifically for Tom, U.K. groups like Close Lobsters, the Marxist band McCarthy, anything on Cherry Red Records; for the Australian Evan, The Go-Betweens and Flying Nun Records). But impressive knowledge of niche pop music does not make a band: the pair started writing and recording together in 2018, taking the time to discover their musical identity: a whole EP was recorded with outside producers and scrapped, never to be released.

“It came out sounding good,” Tom explains, “But not like us.” Their critically acclaimed debut EP, Get Bleak, released on Madrid indie Bobo Integral (Tim Cohen, Massage) in 2019 and re-released on Carpark in 2021 with three additional songs, was originally recorded with live drums—“We’ve had rotating members ever since we’ve been a band. We’ve got Spinal Tap-level drummers at this point,” Evan is quick to point out. That EP, too, was redone—and with a drum machine, built from demos recorded in Evan’s bedroom, revealing the key to Ducks Ltd.’s sound: simple charms, just like the music that inspired it, and a project best served when it’s just the two of them trusting the intensity of their creative relationship.

Ducks Ltd. have played gigs with The Goon Sax, Weyes Blood and Juan Waters; they’ve received glowing praise in publications like Pitchfork, The A.V. Club and NME. But it’s their debut LP, Modern Fiction and its masterful melodies and depressive fun that confirms it: great things are here, and sometimes, all you need is a good friend to realize it.



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