You can listen to this album 100 times, and you’re still none the wiser about where it’s going, or why it’s going there. And that’s a good thing.
I had a friend who had a Dutch uncle. We met him once during his visit to our fair shores. He was pleasant enough, albeit with that brusque conversational delivery typically associated with Dutch nationals. He was frustrated with aspects of the Australian sociological experience – public transport, particularly, about which he had a point – though his objections to culinary matters held less water than a leaking dyke.
All of that has bugger all relevance to Dutch Uncles and their album, Out Of Touch In The Wild. For a start, Dutch Uncles aren’t even Dutch – they’re English (though maybe they can trace their heritage to William of Orange) – and their radical approach to time tempo is anathema to the clichéd Dutch sense of order. Nothing is ever as it might be expected on this record: ‘Pondage’ emerges as Dungen-lite, before morphing into a glistening white funk track. ‘Bellio’ sparkles with the harmonic wonder of The Polyphonic Spree, before mysteriously spreading its wings toward the English new wave scene of 1982. ‘Fester’is the Tom Tom Club gazing in awe at African rhythms, ‘Godboy’ is the best pop track never released in 1985 and ‘Threads’takes you to a place of cerebral exploration and psychedelic pop indulgence.
From there, we get ‘Flexxin’ – in the wrong hands, this would be trite, but with Dutch Uncles it’s the lost Hall and Oates classic we’ve all wanted to embrace. ‘Phaedra’is Hong Kong Garden devoid of its punk wash and ‘Brio’ is the best six-minute coda to an idiosyncratic pop record you’ve heard since David Byrne turned punk rock inside out in 1980.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Out Of Touch In The Wild is out now through Memphis Industries/Breakaway Recordings.