Chris Farren/Grey Gordon

Ducks Fly Together EP

This split EP offers four strummy acoustic paeans to love lost, the most dynamic pair belonging to Fake Problems singer Chris Farren. But all are very well-written, speaking with frank straightforwardness with which it’s easy to identify. It kicks off with the best track, Farren’s “Eagle Eyes.” It blends acoustic and electric guitar and what sounds like ukulele over a shuffling rockabilly/country-western rhythm, as Farren waxes anthemic about the girl he dreams of when he closes his eyes. “There are so many amazing ways to fail,” Farren offers, voice rising and wavering, citing his decision to cut it off with a girl, though we can supply our own. Farren’s other track, “Away From You,” isn’t nearly so rousing. The sleepy Sunday morning acoustic is abetted by a banjo whose twang feels prickly by comparison, amplifying the unease of this breakup song. “I thought maybe we had a chance,” he sings. “Now I see every step that brought us here, and I see the light’s burned out by our fear, fear of love, fear of life instilled in us.”

A straight-edge vegan for Fort Wayne, Indiana, Grey Gordon has a commensurately stark manner whose unsparing and thoughtful lyrical tone recalls Will Oldham. He too invokes fear on “To Impart A Little Wisdom.” “As light gleams off your eye it belies the ugliness inside,” he offers, guiding his crisp, piercing tenor over a wealth of interior rhymes with a martial guitar strum. “We are such little things, fear turns us into irrational beings, but I know it’s not fear that drives you,” he sings. ”It’s something more desperate and deep.” Though somewhat flat musically, Gordon’s presence really shines through. He takes the vitriol further on “Grace,” mixing Christian metaphor with bitter pain. “Pray all you want but it won’t bring relief, you don’t deserve forgiveness,” he sings with palpable bite, his anger and bitterness casting its own dark shadow, undermining the narrator’s perceived wrong, suggesting his frame might be askew.

Ducks Fly Together is a nice quartet of thematically linked songs strong enough to strike a chord—and in Gordon’s case, create an introduction—but not quite catchy enough (with the possible exception of “Eagle Eyes”) to necessitate repeated listens.

No Sleep

Chris Farren's “Eagle Eyes”