One of the first albums I heard in 2013 was an advance copy of Dutch Uncle’s 3rd album, Out of Touch in the Wild, and I knew that it was going to be one of those records I would be championing all year long. And a little championing it needs, seeing as they don’t yet have much of a profile in the US (emphasis on the word “yet”).
The UK quintet’s record has been available in the UK for a couple of months and has certainly received some fine praise, with comparisons to a wide range of bands, from XTC and Talk Talk to Hot Chip and Tortoise (the lack of consensus suggests the band stands on their own quite nicely too). For me, they are an inspired combination of labelmates Field Music’s progressive eclecticism with Phoenix’s soaring pop sensibilities, exemplified on such tracks as “Flexxin” and “Fester.” But what I like best about them is their devotion to creating something with intelligence behind it, not just a sexy beat or catchy hook repeated endlessly. They prove that there is no harm in trying to engage the listener’s body through their head and that with skill their music will reach the listener’s groove thang all the same.
I’m happy to share one of my favorite musical discoveries of 2013 as part of KCRW’s Album Preview feature. Here’s hoping it is a happy discovery for you as well!
-Eric J. Lawrence
7. Zug Zwang