Dutch Uncles - Out Of Touch In The Wild

The Stockport quintet might start simple, sure, but when they’re finished you’ve got something more than a little odd.

Label: Memphis Industries

Rating: 8

‘There’s one song called ‘XO’…and we were like, ‘that sounds like pop’. So we mowed it all together and Duncan piled some lyrics on top of it’, Dutch Uncles’ drummer, Andy Proudfoot, told us when we spoke to him about the band’s first/second album (depending on who you ask), ‘Cadenza’. They take a similar approach on their second/third album (ditto) – they might start simple, sure, but when they’re finished, you’ve got something very, very different, and complicated, and more than a little odd. Also: brilliant.

The most common point of comparison for the band seems to be XTC, although people don’t always know what that means. It’s not (or not just) the Britpop-inspiring ‘Making Plans For Nigel’ or the angular art-rock guitars of ‘Go 2’ of Andy Partridge and co that’s evident in the Stockport quintet’s DNA – there’s also the later years, when they got a bit more interesting, a bit weirder.

There’s funny time signatures, and a few yelps here and there – there’s also a song built around rhythmic playing of the vibes (‘Fester’), or piano (‘Phaedra’ – that’s a character from Greek mythology, that is). Or maybe a Tangerine Dream album. Or one of the stars of ‘Real Housewives Of Atlanta’), or strings (‘Zug Zwang’ – that’s a chess move, that is), with Duncan Wallis providing some Alexis Taylor-alike vocals.

Dutch Uncles aren’t a self-consciously ‘experimental’ band, despite the math-rock drumming, or the orchestral arrangements. They’re a throwback to the eighties heyday of playing around with the familiar shapes and sounds of songs whilst still being, well, listenable and accessible. Because Throbbing Gristle are all well and good, but you do need something with a good melody every now and again.

If you’re feeling a little out of touch with music, or the world, Dutch Uncles can show you the way back – if you’re feeling adventurous.