Ducks Ltd., a dynamic duo hailing from Toronto, took the stage at WXPN’s Free at Noon today, offering a vibrant showcase of their musical evolution and diverse influences showcased in their latest LP, Harm’s Way, freshly released just last month. With two full albums to their name, the band has consistently breathed new life into the ’80s-inspired guitar pop genre, with lead guitarist Evan Lewis drawing inspiration from the music scene he got exposure to while living in Australia.

Before we got Harm’s Way, Ducks Ltd. released Modern Fiction back in 2021 and that’s where we started off Today’s Free at Noon. The first track off the album was naturally the first track of the setlist then they smoothly segued straight into “Old Times.” The nine tracks that make up Harm’s Way radiate a sense of adventure, like “Train Full of Gasoline,the first track they played from the new album. It’s a song based around a real life disaster where small errors compounded into a catastrophic event involving the Lac Megantic rail in Quebec.

Throughout the performance, frontman Tom McGreevy and Lewis illuminated the room with their bright electro-pop melodies, perfectly lifting spirits of the room. Their precision and energy infectiously captivated listeners of all ages. I couldn’t help but notice a little girl, brimming with joy and wonder, dancing and urging her mom to capture every moment, a true testament to the value these Free at Noon performances bring to our community.

As the set progressed, Ducks Ltd. effortlessly navigated between the upbeat and introspective. The comedown from the energetic tracks came when their touring drummer Jonathan Pappo took a breather in the beginning of “Heavy Bag.” McGreevy and Lewis settled into the acoustic idyll of the rainy-day Belle and Sebastian like ballad, before a swell of strings invaded this cloud of distortion summoned the rhythm section resurrecting the energy that was present prior. Despite the familiar instrumental palette, Harm’s Way showcases a refreshing blend of influences, which kept the performance exciting.

For their final song, Ducks Ltd. returned to Modern Fiction with the fan-favorite, “18 Cigarettes,” McGreevy pausing to tune his guitar was Lewis and Pappo’s time to truly shine, as they provided a comical riffing interlude to kill the short period of time. As the show wrapped up, host Mike Vasilikos shared that the band will be at Kung Fu Necktie tonight, you can find tickets on their website, and check out the new album Harm’s Way here.