Dutch Uncles – O Shudder

Album Review by Katie Hawthorne | 10 Feb 2015
Album title: O Shudder
Artist: Dutch Uncles
Label: Memphis Industries
Release date: 23 Feb

O Shudder, the fourth album from art-pop five-piece Dutch Uncles is a bit frustrating, and the difference in the first two singles Decided Knowledge and In N Out says it all. The former is laser-sharp, grooved and knowingly weird, showing off the band’s trademark talent for strange, danceable detail. Then, In N Out. It’s an ode to the awkwardness of propositioning your best pal, but it comes off no more smoothly than that scenario would in real life. 

Don't worry, though. An exuberantly irreverent approach to songcraft and a flamboyant sprinkling of kook keeps O Shudder on a similar page to previous Dutch Uncle releases. It’s just that, for all its slick slabs of synth and tongue-in-cheek wit, a few tracks don’t quite hit the mark. For every glorious Be Right Back, all slow-jam bass and twinkling keys, there’s an awkward Babymaking that’s a lacking caricature of all which usually makes Dutch Uncles wonderful.

The band have described the album as an examination of modern insecurities, but perhaps these insecurities have gotten the better of them? O Shudder sounds over-thought, and a little lacking in confidence as a consequence. That said, the swelling, triumphant Upsilon is guaranteed to go down a treat this summer – all is far from lost. 

Playing Manchester Ritz on 27 Mar and Liverpool Sound City on 23 May http://dutchuncles.co.uk