When you start your record off with a track called Babymaking, the title O Shudder suddenly seems creepily coital. By all counts the line “you want my baby, baby” should raise alarms of discomfort to Yewtree-level, yet in the hands of Dutch Uncles it sounds, well, endearing.
That might say as much about us as it does about the Greater Manchester band, but they’re certainly masters of tracks that are so beguiling on first listen that you become instantly obsessed with them. Lead single Decided Knowledge is one of those, led by that very distinct, quirky British art-rock sound – all zippy production and haphazard instrumentation to steady guitar licks – and it’s an absolute joy to be swept along with.
It’s also hugely arresting on tracks like Upsilon (hello quirky 8-bit SFX) and Drips, which admittedly ride on the charm of Daniel Wallis and his acrobatic vocal. Like the aural equivalent of a cheeky grin, there’s a light and charming quality to it that lets him get away with the most absurd lines among the too-clever titles.
Generally, though? An absolute joy, through and through. Hooks by the bucketload (see In N Out for a fine example) and instrumentation that’s rich and inventive on songs like Given Thing, which are given more depth through strings than the genre normally deigns on an album like this. A fine surprise, then, and challenging in all the right ways; we’d recommend going Dutch from this point forward.