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Six years into Dutch Uncles’ flourishing career, the idiosyncratic artpopologists return with new album O Shudder which sees them further distilling and refining their signature sound, marrying rock bombast with classical arrangements, acoustic instrumentation with smart synthetic pop. O Shudder is Dutch Uncles’ most direct record to date, the sound of a wildly witty band well and truly finding their stride, whilst lyrically tackling the growing pains of being twentysomething in a generic Northern suburbia; according to hip swivelling front man Duncan Wallis, the album covers themes including “pregnancy, social media, terrorism, divorce, sexual dysfunction, job seeking, health scares, doubt, love”.
With O Shudder, Dutch Uncles continue their fascinating, wonky ascent which has seen them play enormodomes with emo punk rock behemoths and self confessed Dutch Uncles acolytes Paramore, supporting and being supported by like minded left-field pop adventurers Wild Beasts, Outfit, Field Music, and Everything Everything, have a burger named after them by one of Manchester’s premiere eateries and prefigure Future Islands’ dance moves meme in their video for 2013 single Flexxin.
The album was recorded with long term collaborator Brendan Williams in three locations; at a studio in the heart of the Welsh valleys, above a Salford pub, ‘The Kings Arms’, (incidentally where C4 comedy Fresh Meat is filmed) and, for the acoustic instruments, in the natural reverb of Salford’s Peel Hall. The band were meticulous in tweaking their synth sounds so they’d fit seamlessly with the harp, xylophone, marimba, string and woodwind sounds that populate the record. Sources of inspiration for the record included The Blue Nile, Kate Bush’s third album, Never For Ever, Igor Stravinsky, Japan and lyrically John Cooper Clarke, Sparks, Ian Dury and Prefab Sprouts’ album From Langley Park to Memphis.
All set to o shudder and stun, and induce plenty of hip swivelling, Dutch Uncles have delivered on their youthful potential and, with O Shudder, solved their own particular Rubix’s cube, bringing their unclassifiable pop music into clear and precise focus.
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