While some might have you believe that England only produces One Direction and Coldplay, it turns out there’s some pretty neat stuff coming from the other side of the ocean. New wave revivalists Dutch Uncles are crafting melodies that beg to be danced to, remembering the eighties’ trademark electronic-driven music. Their third album, Out of Touch in the Wild, is full of synthesized beats and catchy choruses.
The band are fond of creating lighthearted songs with intricate thought. “Flexxin” opens with delicate plucks and escalates into an odd-tempo groove––a signature of Dutch Uncles’s sound. Frontman Duncan Wallis’s voice soars over the techno background, reminiscent of Morten Harket‘s croon in the earlier days of A-ha. The tune is deceivingly elementary, featuring a constant 4/4 time that’s chopped up to give the illusion of an off-time meter. (Also, the video features Wallis dancing to the song and air-drumming along in a delightful display similar to Napoleon Dynamite’s on-stage moment.) Odd name aside, the grandiose “Zug Zwang” begins with orchestral strings that give way to a beat fueled by piano and vibes that wouldn’t sound out of place in a musical. The complex songwriting makes for surprisingly simple results. The songs sound more like a vivid, tinkling snapshot of 1985 than a meshy connection between post-punk and math rock.
Like such contemporaries as Passion Pit, Grizzly Bear, and Talking Heads, the band infuse bright melodies with cryptic lyrics. “Fester” could be on a commercial, if not for the misplaced beat. Its lively refrain and synth-backed vocals make it a club-worthy anthem that wouldn’t sound out of place on an ambient electronica mixtape. “Bellio,” what might be the band’s strongest offering on the record, bounces joyfully on a tightrope of bass and keyboards. It sounds the most like Duran Duran but is no copy. The band’s originality is just as evident as their penchant for stunning song creation.
Dutch Uncles have a lot to offer, from strange song names (“Pondage”) to style flexibility (the middle portion of “Nometo” sounds a bit like a Joe Satriani/Devo mashup). And while most of their tours are U.K.-based, hopefully the gents will make it stateside to breathe new life into new wave. The youth of today, accustomed to undulating dubstep rhythms, will digest this as easily as a forty-something who blossomed in the eighties.
MP3: Dutch Uncles “Flexxin”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl