Release Date: Apr 25, 2011
Record label: Memphis Industries
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
In Britain, 'trying to be clever' is pretty much the worst put-down you can level at somebody short of 'racist paedophile'. Which in a pop music context is ironic, given that much of 'our' early success in that sphere was due to precocious art school types with at least a grudging interest in cultural theory taking ideas that had been worked up in the U.S. and, er, doing something clever with them.
The Manchester indie scene may be renowned for producing loutish lad rock groups like Oasis, Happy Mondays, and Stone Roses, but in the 2000s it's been responsible for a wave of angular math rock acts who are just as likely to cite minimalist classical composer Steve Reich as an influence as they are the city's musical darlings the Smiths. Named after the term for "issuing criticism in order to educate," five-piece Dutch Uncles are yet another set of Mancunians who can join Everything Everything, Airship, and Egyptian Hip-Hop on the intellectual guitar band roll-call, as evident on their second album, Cadenza. Produced by Brendan Williams and Phil Bulleyment, the follow-up to their eponymous 2008 debut, which was strangely lapped up by European audiences but entirely ignored in their homeland, continues on the same eclectic path, constantly weaving intricate melodies, experimental rhythms, and unorthodox time signatures around lead singer Duncan Wallis' yelping vocals and eccentric lyrics.
ADutch uncle, apparently, is one who educates and encourages by means of admonition and criticism. No wonder this Mancunian quintet took the term for their name: the encouragement comes from their use of pop melodies, from Duncan Wallis's quavering voice, a ringer for Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip; the admonition comes from combining those melodies with the structure, repetition and time-signature changes usually associated with music not intended to detain the chart compilers terribly long. In short, Dutch Uncles might just be the first math-pop band.
Shut up about time signatures! So bands can have multiple thoughts simultaneously? Whoopty-doo! There’s more to a good record than besting the listener and this one is baffling. Despite sounding like two Dartz! albums playing at the same time, ‘[b]Cadenza[/b]’ somehow manages to come off completely underdeveloped and sometimes just plain odd.The title track falls somewhere between an overfussy Your Twenties track and a Foals live session, recorded at gunpoint. As an instrumental album it’s vaguely impressive, but overall it’s incomplete and lacks the pop touch to transform things from cerebral to listenable.Rebecca RobinsonOrder a copy of Dutch Uncles’ ‘Cadenza’ from Amazon .
A brilliant second album of intelligent pop from the rightly rising Manchester band. Mike Diver 2011 In 2009, a little band from Manchester released an eponymous debut on a little German label, leaving only a little impression on their domestic scene. But from an acorn the mightiest of oaks can grow, and sure enough the years between that set and this follow-up have seen Dutch Uncles come to the attentions of influential sorts in the music industry.