Dutch Uncles played Shacklewell Arms on the 8th Jan, marking the release of their third record.
Do they sound like Hot Chip on ‘Out of Touch In The Wild’? Perhaps. But who doesn’t want to be in a band that sounds like a young, sparky Hot Chip/Field Music hybrid? Along with Everything Everything, Delphic + Egyptian Hip Hop, Duncles are putting a certain type of Mancunian music in the spotlight. With the exception of EE, these acts are from MARPLE which is very easily misspelled as MAPLE (syrup, leaf) but is in fact a town in Greater Manchester which has a special section of it’s Wikipedia entry dedicated to it’s Scout hut. A small-town existence is a bonus in many ways – Arcade Fire had to resort to an abandoned church to reach the sublime.
In a live setting they’re not afraid of messing around with their vocals, improvising xylophone bars on “Fester” or, erm, restarting songs altogether. Theirs is a brand of electro that is cleverly formulated but organic and easily tampered with.
Were third albums supposed to be this fun? Does the Shacklewell embue some kind of greatness in acts that perform hear? Probably not, but I like this face of Manchester regardless. It’s sensitive yet cool, unpretentious but definitely complex*, tighter than their previous releases, less guitar-driven but if we wanted that wouldn’t we just listen to a rock band proper?!
In a post-Wu Lyf world we need all the North West talent we can get – yet another reason to jig, jive and jump along to Duncles. They might be out in the wild, but they’re definitely not out of touch with the rest of us.
*I’m defining pretentious here as needlessly arsey/Klaxons part 2. Whilst Duncles do have tracks called “Zug Zwang” and “Phaedra”, they are yet to release an album on VHS or sample Jermaine Jackson.