Feb 20, 2015 Issue #52 - January/February 2015 - St. Vincent
Almost as soon as they emerged on to the Manchester scene back in 2010, Dutch Uncles carved a very defined niche into the British independent music world. This came at a time when the U.K. music scene didn't really know where it stood; the noughties' indie heyday had long since fizzled into nothingness (save the appearance of a new Arctic Monkeys record every couple of years), while dubstep tightened its ketamine-fuelled grip on the mainstream. Yet the Manchester five-piece fought its way through the dregs of this transitional period by peddling something original, a brand of art-pop that harkened back to the days of Talking Heads and co. while still sounding refreshingly modern.
Now on their fourth full-length, Dutch Uncles sound at their most refined. Although part of the band's charm was the scattered nature of the instrumentation, O Shudder sounds tweaked and tightened. This is no bad thing, however, as they have managed to retain their unique eclecticism whilst sounding thoroughly professional. Duncan Wallis' vocal has also developed something of a warble on the longer notes, a new addition that somehow lends an element of honesty to proceedings.
The subject matter of the record seems to have taken a turn for the sensual. Dutch Uncles have never been a band afraid to talk about sex, but everything about O Shudder oozes sexuality. From the brilliantly patent subject matter of tracks like "In N Out" and "Babymaking," to the artwork of two figures entwined in passionate coitus, there's plenty of love here to go round. This all accumulates in a playful, honest and passionate release from one of Britain's most innovative bands. (www.dutchuncles.co.uk)
Author rating: 7.5/10
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