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Dutch Uncles - O Shudder - An intricate seduction

BY Mandi Goodier

1st Jan 2015 Music

Dutch Uncles - O Shudder - An intricate seduction

Dutch Uncles have been doing the rounds for the last 6 years. Always guaranteed a large crowd live, can this idiosyncratic art-pop fivesome break through with their fourth album O Shudder?

Dutch Uncles O Shudder
Dutch Uncles - O Shudder 
Label: Memphis Industries

Dutch Uncles - 3 and a half stars

Mancunian band Dutch Uncles deliver a solid collection of tunes that deserves wider recognition. Starting as it means to go on with opener “Babymaking”, O Shudder is a rich baroque combination of art-pop, intelligent arrangement, 1980s-style anything-goes post-punk and classical influence (Stravinsky in particular). There isn’t a single note out of place and the shudder of the album is a seductive one, which slowly slips down the spine to the melody of the piano, intricate bass and androgynous vocals. The album embraces the sounds of harp, xylophone, marimba, string and woodwind driving its sound to an ethereal place, which feels as it's maybe a few inches higher than gravity permits.

The lyrics deliver a strong sense of the anxiety people face as they approach their late-twenties/early thirties; still young enough to get things wrong but with a strong sense that perhaps by this time one should know better. As frontman Duncan Wallis explains: “it felt like a suitable narrative, as we ourselves approach our thirties where a lot of people are expected to feel sure about who they are and where they are going and just don’t.” It is unfortunate that these strong narratives don't quite manage to break through the lush melodies, but it is something that begins to un-layer itself upon more listens. 

This is perhaps their most accomplished album in their six years together, as it never seems to stray. The biggest achievement is the urge it provokes to experience this band live, as it encourages you to move you body to its atypical beat. And you would not be disappointed if you should get the chance, if only to witness the loose hips of frontman Duncan Wallis.

Key tracks: “In n Out”, “Tidal Weight”, “Decided Knowledge”
Like this? You may also like:Scritti Politti, Talking Heads, Kavinsky

Tour Dates (seriously, go see them!)

Stoke, The Sugarmill, March 26 
Manchester, Ritz, March 27
London, Koko, April 10 
Belfast, Limelight 2, April 24 
Dublin, Workman’s Club, April 25 

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