ALBUM: Duck – ‘There Are No Normal Conversations Any More’

Reading Duck‘s description of themselves on their Bandcamp would make you think they were trying to eschew any sense of artifice. And, okay, “wonky DIY synth/guitar queer noisepop” might give you some sense of where the group are coming from: after all, they did call their first EP sLaCk gOb. But, whilst sophmore effort, There Are No Normal Conversations Any More, does demonstrate elements that could be termed wonky, it’s a far more well-rounded piece than that sobriquet suggests.

For a start, in the vein of many of the great long-players, its tracks all mesh, following directly into each other like some kind of orchestral suite, rather than sitting as disparate moves in one direction or another. Sure, they all feature synths – but there’s range, in the squelch of opener ‘R*ck St*r’, the lightning strike electropunk of ‘C/Rage’ and the cold clinicism of Millennial torch song, ‘Meta’. The guitars too, can give you C86 on ‘New Super Power’ with its overdrive and squealing, the driving post-punk of album standout ‘Rabbit Hole’ or the surf rock of the album’s title track.

The only thing that doesn’t really change here, and arguably Duck’s not-so-secret weapon, is Sarah Griffith’s Moyet meets Corin Tucker harmonies and heft. Sometimes the voice sticks out – the double-meaning pun of ‘Sirens’ is a case in point – and at others it’s allowed to drop back into the mix. There are screams and hollers on some tracks, but by the time the album hits an ’80s power-pop stride on ‘I’m Alive’ and ‘Sweetheart’, the vocals come encased in honey.

Perhaps the most unexpected element to the album is its outwardly pop sensibilities. There’s bits and pieces of DIY, but also aspects that wouldn’t sound out of place on records by Cocteau Twins or Soft Cell, not least the hand-claps in ‘New Super Power’, the Vince Clarke-y electronic harmonies found throughout and the occasionally sombre tone to the album’s slower songs.

Duck make extensive use of found sounds too: applause and giggles at the end of ‘New Super Power’; the garbled speech on ‘There Are No Normal Conversations Anymore’ (which makes a sort of sense in the context of its title) and, most prominently, the crowd noise on ‘Mouths Move’ which was recorded at Fuck It Why Not, a DIY festival in Leeds’ Hyde Park. For a release on a tiny indie label, this is stunningly well-produced and put together.

In a Sound Sphere interview from 2018, Duck list their band’s ambitions as “to work with people we want to work with, play with bands we want to play with, to a fun, appreciative audience, free of dickheads. Also, to never be part of an otherwise all-male line-up again…”  Having just spent some time listening to this bravura effort, it’s almost strange to see that two years ago, Duck were merely happy to have a space to play. It probably says a lot about the times we’re in that, all of a sudden, self-described ‘wonky queer noisepop’ is the best response. Thank fuck, then, for Duck.

 

There Are No Normal Conversations Any More is out now via Hell Hath No Fury Records.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

Track Of The Day: DUCK – ‘C/Rage’

Following their poignant last single ‘Sirens’, and having wowed us with their colourful energy live at The Finsbury on more than one occasion, GIHE faves DUCK are back with another slice of playful, punk-fuelled noise-pop.

Dedicated to anyone who’s ever felt alienated by a closed-minded world, ‘C/Rage’ is fuelled by a driving sense of urgency, oozing a scuzzy electro-punk energy as impassioned vocals soar alongside eerie whirring hooks and propulsive beats. Another vibrant, and compelling, cacophony from the Sheffield/Leeds trio.

Of the track, the band explain:

The song is a queer howl of noise about feeling alone while growing up in a religious atmosphere.”

‘C/Rage’ is taken from DUCK’s upcoming new album There Are No Normal Conversations Any More, out 7th February on Hell Hath No Fury Records. 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Track Of The Day: DUCK – ‘Sirens’

Having wowed us at The Finsbury with their playful energy on more than one occasion, Leeds/Sheffield band DUCK are firm favourites here at Get In Her Ears, and now – following following joyous offerings such as 2017’s ‘Stereo’ and this year’s ‘R*ck St*r’, they’re back with a poignant new single.

Propelled by ’80s infused whirring hooks and intense pounding beats, ‘Sirens’ oozes jarring sounds to reflect its pertinent subject matter. A song about violence and victim blaming, as the impassioned vocals of front woman Sarah blast out an affecting lyrical commentary – “If you could just sew your mouth shut/ Everything would be alright/ You set him off again/ You and your big mouth” – an eerily stirring soundscape is created; one that will stick in your ears, and in your mind, at a time when these issues need addressing more than ever.

Listen to ‘Sirens’ via Bandcamp now:

 

‘Sirens’ is taken from DUCK’s upcoming new album There Are No Normal Conversations Any More, out later this year on Hell Hath No Fury Records. And you can catch DUCK live for the single launch on 12th October at Wharf Chambers, Leeds.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Track Of The Day: Duck – ‘R*ck St*r’

Having played The Finsbury for us not just once, but twice, DUCK are firm favourites of ours here at Get In Her Ears. And now, following joyous offerings such as 2017’s ‘Stereo’, and a revised line-up with the addition of Evangeline, they’ve shared an infectious new single.

A song about those weird narcissistic blokes in bands (sure we’ve all known a few!) and how their days are numbered, hopefully, ‘R*ck St*r’ is a playful slice of quirky punk-pop racing with pulsating, funk-filled beats and scuzzy, whirring hooks. Oozing  a vibrant, danceable energy, it fuses together a range of colourful sonic delights, creating a wonderfully eccentric cacophony. Of the track, the band explain:

The song is a takedown of all the weirdie narcissistic men of rock we’ve encountered (and beyond) hiding behind the ‘sad boy’ image in order to abuse others, clinging on to the outdated notion of entitled stardom and basking in their own self-proclaimed god-like genius.


DUCK’s upcoming album, There Are No Normal Conversations Any More, is set for release this Autumn via Hell Hath No Fury Records. 

Mari Lane
@marimindles