Dutch Uncles
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Dutch Uncles

Manchester, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

Manchester, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock

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"" I don’t think anyone can accuse this quintet of copying anyone, past or present.""

Forget London. Manchester and all its surrounding environs is where everything is happening now – Delphic, Egyptian Hip Hop, Everything Everything…and this band, Dutch Uncles.

As one can imagine, if you live in Manchester and are a musician, the desire to escape from the ghosts of your city’s celebrated musical past are a constant preoccupation. But hearing Dutch Uncles, I don’t think anyone can accuse this quintet of copying anyone, past or present. Huw Stephens of Radio1 had them round at Maida Vale last week for his ‘BBC Introducing…’ segment and I was really impressed with two tracks the band considers ‘old’ – ‘Face In’ and ‘Fragrant’. But best of all was their new single released on 31 May, ‘the Ink’.

The only band whose sound I draw a comparison with regards to this single is Field Music – and even then the comparison is tenuous (uh, prominent jangly piano sequence?). Lead singer Duncan Wallis’s voice is filled with innocence, in stark contrast to the up-tempo guitars, but somehow it all makes sense. ‘The Ink’ single is backed by an even more instrumentally frenetic track, ‘Creature’. I’m imagining they must be a fun band to watch live – I can’t be there but you can catch them on tour as support for Sky Larkin in September (tour dates here). If you go, let us know what you think. - There Goes the Fear


"These cerebral prog-poppers prove that Manchester is finally producing innovative, intelligent music again"

It was heartening to see that, of the 15 bands and artists in this year's BBC Sound Poll longlist, a fifth of them – Hurts, Everything Everything and Delphic – were from Manchester. Considering that so many of the greatest groups of the last 30 years (Buzzcocks, Magazine, the Fall, the Smiths, Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, 808 State) have been Mancunian, the ratio could have been even higher. In fact, being contentious, it could probably be argued that England's third city has produced far more important and influential bands these past three decades than the capital.

But there hasn't been a truly great one for a good long while. So even more encouraging was the quality of the Manc bands in the BBC countdown – and you can add Egyptian Hip Hop and Airship to that list. It would appear that, after years of dominance by sub-Oasis lad drone rockers, right up to and including Twisted Wheel and the Courteeners, Manchester is finally producing some innovative, intelligent acts. You know Dutch Uncles – friends since primary school in Marple, a suburb of Greater Manchester, who formerly operated as the Headlines and have been touring with Maximo Park, Dananananakroyd and Delphic – are going to be a cerebral cut above the usual oiks when they mention as their favourite musicians the likes of King Crimson, Talking Heads and Steve Reich. We've become used to seeing Talking Heads name-checked by bands ever since the noughties punk-funk thing began, but King Crimson – typically cited as the foundational prog-rockers with their complex structures and ever-shifting time signatures – are less regularly acknowledged. As for Reich, this is the first time we've seen the American minimalist composer get a nod from a young rock outfit.

But as we said on Monday with Lily Allen-alike Eliza Doolittle, it's one thing claiming to listen to certain artists while you're recording your own music and another to actually absorb their influence and allow it to shape your work. In this instance T Heads + Reich + Crimson doesn't exactly = Dutch Uncles, but you do get the impression, listening to the two tracks on their MySpace, that they're at least open to different sources and trying to do things differently, in terms of rhythm, melody and overall composition. Yes, Face In has the herky-jerkiness of the math-rock that was all the rage three years ago but like their other song Doppelganger, it has a lightness of touch that suggests Dutch Uncles could make a serious attempt to rival Mew, if not Muse, in the prog-pop stakes. - Guardian


Discography

*Fragrant (Single) Nov 2010
*Face In (Single) Feb 2011
*Cadenza (Single) April 2011
**Cadenza (Album) April 2011
*X-O (Single) June 2011
*The Ink (Single) Sep 2011

* All single regular BBC Radio 1 and 6Music plays/playlists

** BBC - Album of the Month. The Times 4/5. Drowned in Sound 8/10. The Fly 4/5 etc

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Bio

Friends since Primary School; Pete, Robin Andy & Sped grew up in Marple on the outskirts of Manchester. The quintet was augmented with the addition of singer Duncan Wallis in the later years of High School.

Whilst still in their teens, the band’s previous incarnation earned them respect amongst the Manchester music community, often upstaging bigger acts many years their senior with an unconventional approach to indie-pop and energetic live performances. A few years wiser and an inevitable change in direction finally saw the band in 2008 become Dutch Uncles playing their first show to a packed out Night and Day crowd supporting Metronomy.

The band blend complex compositions and off-kilter time signatures with floating melodies.

Pulling unlikely influences from Steve Reich, XTC and King Crimson the band have an unconventional approach to songwriting with individuals scoring tracks much the same way a classical composer would, presenting songs and ideas to the rest of the band as sheet music.

Signing to Memphis Industries the band released their album Cadenza in April 2011 to critical acclaim with many a critic and fan falling deeply in love with now unmistakable brand of what has been coined 'Math-pop'. With singles hitting the 6Music playlists and regular plays across Radio 1 the band spent the summer with a hectic festival schedule including Reading/Leeds Festival, Bestival and a headline slot on the Lakes Stage at Latitude.

The band are set to tour Europe extensively with Wild Beasts in the autumn as well as a number of UK headline shows before hibernating over the winter to record their follow-up album quickly for release in the first half of 2012.