by Ryan Doyle Elward
Dutch Uncles‘ O Shudder denotes the passage of time, imparting an organic tempo and resetting the natural rhythm of the body. A locomotive metronome driving a deep, controlling beat. Achieved in part by technically laced instrumentation aided by peculiar vocal swells in odd measure, as well as constant blooms of sound which rise and fall sporadically, offering a curious cadence of physical dictation.
Androgynous, compelling vocals complement the floating, airy qualities of the album, which remain grounded by weighty, sonic textures. Only softly electronic, O Shudder exhibits such variety of instruments that it could hardly be considered a digital effort. Warm, colorful, even sensual at times; this is a well rounded display of sound.
However unconventionally unattractive, several points throughout the album reveal a special kind of genius in the art of ensnaring the ears of listeners. Ever hinting at a climax, a juncture of contact with the most grabbing aspect of any song, but not quite reaching the mark, never fulfilling that satisfying need for a song to be easily consumed and internalized, converted into our musical fuel.
The album title can be heard referenced in “Drips,” which contains numerous layers to accommodate and savor. In fact, it is almost overwhelming if you are engaged in anything but strictly listening to the music. But, in that kernel of honesty, it is not a negative aspect that an album actually demand your attention to be appreciated fully. Well, this is one of those albums.
Additionally, much of the songs from this release tend to delineate several times, changing pace or direction, which are all factors that make it difficult to stay involved throughout a session of passive listening. That said, all criticism of this album revolve around objections from a passive listening perspective. If partook of in an active, thoughtful process, O Shudder shows itself in a light of great intention. And, all told, the true intrigue within this album is best witnessed through the considerable forms of adventurism and novelty in sound that demands proper respect and appreciation.