”For years and years, I guess I was lonely” is the first line on Ducks, and it’s the first of many profound shifts in perspective that are framed as perfectly mundane — the rest of the verse is about chatting with a friend over a beer on your front stoop.
Nicholas Krgovich has quietly become a mainstay in the indie world, collaborating with legends like Dear Nora and Mount Eerie and shacking up with Orindal Records, run by Owen Ashworth of Advance Base.
If any of those names ring a bell, you might know the vein that Krgovich mines in his music.
If they don’t, then think about the name of the record — Ducks.
Think about a nice afternoon watching the ducks in the pond on a sunny spring day, contemplating life and soaking in the details of the world around you — the glimmer of the sun in little puddles, the movement of leaves in the wind and the way the clouds above you break apart and drift back into each other.
Krgovich’s lyrical obsessions are so banal and small that they loop back to being massively meaningful in some Zen-like way. These songs are littered with references to the weather, the beverage he’s drinking, chores, snacks — all these little details of time spent in quiet reflection, alone.
Musically, the album is deceptively low stakes. Recorded alone by Krgovich on a 4-track tape machine, the record has a fuzzy, intimate warmth and summery breeziness, taking cues from Yo La Tengo, Broadcast and the innocence of Beat Happening.
But Ducks never delves into cutesiness or sentimentality. Its perspective is one of newfound self-awareness — the placid calm of middle age and perspective of a life largely lived.
Occasionally, it borders on navel-gazing, but the brevity of the songs and the album as a whole keep Krgovich’s simple musings from grating too much.
By the end of a record the scope expands a bit too, like on the celestial-minded “Scorpio Rising (Grace Chen),” or the last track, “Eating Last Year’s Apples in July,” a frank reflection on relationships past and a final resolve to let love in.
Ducks is an excellent album for spring. It has the feeling of waking up out of winter hibernation to find new, exciting details in the everyday.
It reminds me of spring 2020, a time that left us with nothing but room for boredom and contemplation. And we could all use a bit more meditative calm in our lives.
Ducks is available on major streaming services.