Uncles keep in touch with talentStyle: Manchester band Dutch Uncles produce hyper-literate indiedutch uncles
Out of Touch in the Wild
Dutch uncles, for those not in the know, are people who encourage by means of harsh criticism. It's also the moniker of a Mancunian outfit whose intelligent, hyper-literate brand of indie can be filed alongside such Manchester brethren as Everything Everything and Hurts.
This, their third album, offers a batch of smart, ambitious avant-garde pop that finds a balance between hook-filled, angular post-punk and the judicious employment of strings.
There's a nervy energy redolent of Bloc Party in their pomp, while their epic flights of fancy recall British Sea Power in that brief period when it seemed as though they were about to step up to the big time.
The quintet are at their best on Flexxin, a superb slice of orchestral electro-rock on which frontman Duncan Wallis sounds uncannily like Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor.
And there's plenty more where that came from.
In an age where many musicians feel compelled to release lengthy albums where quality is eschewed for quantity's sake, it's refreshing that Dutch Uncles have taken a brutal approach.
There are 10 tracks and the total run-time is a lean 37 minutes.
One track that hasn't made the cut is Road to Roy, a football-inspired song that was released for last year's European Championships.
It didn't capture the imagination of the English public in the way that Three Lions did back in 1996, but in the admittedly slender list of fine songs written for the beautiful game there's something special about its engaging trawl through the country's rich football heritage.
And there's something special about Wallis and friends too.
KEY TRACKS Flexxin; Fester
Day & Night