27 June 2011
Dutch Uncles should be applauded for their sense of adventure alone.
A Dutch uncle is someone who offers “advice” in the form of very blunt criticism(s), and since the release of this, their second album since a distant, and somewhat random, debut album that was made public via a small German label back in 2009, they have been dividing opinions in the music press as to its relative merits.
Much has been made of their intellectual approach to music, yet their unusual time signatures are certainly nothing new, and their heritage can be traced back from modern day contemporaries like the highly recommended Everything Everything and Field Music, to Vampire Weekend, The Foals, and then further back to Talking Heads, XTC and the wonderfully eccentric Sparks.
And like all of these bands, The Dutch Uncles’ sound is one that is essentially founded in a simple pop aesthetic and the entire album is swimming in gorgeous pop hooks – right from the opening title track which features a thumping percussion accompanied by galloping keys and guitars through to original single, the dueling guitar driven The Ink.
Holding the whole thing together is front man Duncan Wallis, who really is the star of the show. His vocals are oh so smooth as he navigates his way through the maze of awkward song structures and at times extremely cryptic lyrics.
This is definitely a record for those interested in exploring a more complex, less structured sound. Dutch Uncles have combined their ear for a great hook, with a more modern and intellectual style to ensure they will remain anything but one dimensional. They should be applauded for their sense of adventure alone.