27 November 2013

Dutch Uncles - Out Of Touch In The Wild


Some bands you discover by accident, this is one of those bands for me.  Back in 2011 I picked up their last album 'Cadenza' on a whim, I liked the cover and I had a few pennies to spend.  The result was a beautifully crafted piece of indie pop that took inspiration from prog rock, math metal time signatures and falsetto singing designed to give to enthral (although sometimes they give headaches as well If I'm honest).  It was a well played album for me, yet I forgot about them a bit if I'm honest.  I saw that they released this album earlier in the year; however it has taken me till now that I have listened to it.  Hailing from Marple (part of the Greater Borough of Manchester, Stockport, England), they have a rather strange career so far, which is on the up and up; but they don't seem to be making the waves that some were expecting (selling out lots of venues is obviously not enough for some people), so is this album a lost little gem of British Indie pop like there last one....

"Pondage" is the first song off this album, a mournful beginning starts this album off before the trademark guitar picking begins and it starts off the album with a small low-key, starting small and not making their ideas too complicated.  It keeps it simple and works really well as a gentle introduction to their latest work.  Going straight into "Bellio", this keep the suspense coming and when they eventually start to make more noise it sound like a futuristic disco going on.  There is a wonderful amount of oriental flavours that take the album on a wonderful trip from the beginning.  Keeping up the good work is "Fester" (these boys do like their strange names); it has a softly soft approach that rides through the album. This is not to say it is not full of energy and vitality, it just isn't bouncy off the walls like a Mexican bean.  This album likes to take its time and it is rewarding for the patients’.

"Godboy" has another gentle beginning that so gives way to a string section that smoothes even the most violent of souls.  It is for good reason that they are compared to XTC, they share a lot of the same DNA and this band has made it their own.  Next is "Threads" which have a kinship with 'Two Suns' era Bat For Lashes and would not be out of place in an indie disco.  It is a really have game into their own so far with this album.  Afterwards you have "Flexxin" which keeps the good work going, to be honest it is very samey at this point as well; but when it is played this well then you don't mind.  "Zug Zwang" is a mood changer, taking the slow opening to a more morbid level, but fear not dear reader: they are straight back onto the off-time drumming, keyboards to die for and vocals that I sometimes think might be a girl (sorry Mr Wallis - sometimes I have to check).

"Phaedra" is just as lovely side step, it seems effortless in its delivery to be honest.  Nothing about this album feels forced or out of place, there is no effort that is wasted and it all feels so compact.  After this you have my personal favourite "Nometo" which will be straight into the song of the year for ATTIWLTMOWOS.  It is not the most adventures or outlandish tune I have heard, but it is certainly one of the cleverest tracks.  And then they drop "Brio" which has a tune of energy and sparks, it is as if they have been storing it for the entire album and it explodes out of them.  For 90% of this album the band has been reserved and that last 10% is an all out explosion.  They play it right, and it makes for such a powerful ending.

I think it is obvious what I feel about this album.  I am not going to tell you that this album is the best thing ever, but it is a really good album that is so quiet and focused in places.  It is just a joy to listen to, I feel sort of guilty that it missed me when I first released.  If you have any interest in the UK indie music scene and want to go off the beaten track for a bit, start here.  It is really worth the effort and an unsung gem from this year's releases.  This should have been in the mix for a Mercury Prize, but it will probably be forgotten which is a shame really.  Seriously, go and get it......now.

9.5 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Dutch Uncles website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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