“Make me swoon, like a big balloon.”
It’s hard for indie outfits to get such a thumping highlight so early in an album and so far in their career. But Dutch Uncles do that on their title track for Big Balloon, a thumping, relentlessly joyful song that almost reinvents them as the festival-goading band we’ve always known they could be.
Then again, this lot are no strangers to invention and originality. But this is the sound of them abandoning the somewhat artier aspirations that weighed them down a bit, instead showing us what they’re like with their hair down.
But the problem with having a highlight so early on in your set is the inability to keep up that momentum. They do quite well on Baskin’, but somewhere the chords lose their accessibility, and the first third seems lacking. It’s only at Hiccup that things pick up again with some fervour, a rollick of a track that foxtrots between guitar and vocal to delightful effect.
From then, it’s all joy. Streetlight’s pace is admirable, and Oh Yeah practically dares you to deny its infectious joy (spoiler: it’s impossible to do so). It’s a shame that it takes a few tracks for them to renew this vigour, but that’s still no problem – it may not be their best album, but it might well be the one that really catapults them to the big leagues. Make us swoon indeed.