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Dutch Uncles - True Entertainment (Album Review)

Thursday, 16 March 2023 Written by Jack Terry

Photo: Oliver Sangster

It's not every day that you come across an album that cites Prince, Yellow Magic Orchestra and Talking Heads as key influences. Then again, it's not every day you come across a band quite like Dutch Uncles. The Mancunian art-pop quartet are back with their sixth album 'True Entertainment' and they prove here that certain sounds can be truly timeless.

Their fizzing approach is fuelled by sparkling synths, evergreen piano and jangling guitars, all underpinning vocalist Duncan Wallis' chameleonic voice. Across the 10 tracks of 'True Entertainment', Dutch Uncles do everything from ‘80s synth-pop and classy lounge jazz, to ethereal chamber pop and balladry. 

Tropigala (2 To 5) enlists the help of Metronomy’s Anna Prior for a curiously upbeat dose of nihilism and hopelessness. Its chorus (“Working two to five, what a way to make NO living.”) will get stuck in your head for days. 

Meanwhile, Poppin’ uses fidgeting Chic-esque basslines and I’m Not Your Dad goes prog-punk space opera with wiry guitars and dramatic piano stealing the show, taking leaves from the books of (believe it or not) Ennio Morricone and Roxette in equal measure. 

Dead Letter changes tack once again to close the album with a gentle ballad that evokes everyone from Rick Astley to Eurythmics. Dutch Uncles’ refusal to settle in any one lane decorates ‘True Entertainment’ with gems that glint under a neon sun.

In the end, 'True Entertainment' is right on the cusp of greatness. At its highest points, Dutch Uncles have crafted irresistible little shots of fun that are sure to get toes tapping. But at times it is uneven, or even a little repetitive, leaving their brochure of influences feeling haphazard. There’s no denying, though, that when this works, it really works.

Dutch Uncles Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat April 15 2023 - SUNDERLAND Pop Recs Ltd
Sun April 16 2023 - BRISTOL Thekla
Wed April 19 2023 - BIRMINGHAM Hare And Hounds
Thu April 20 2023 - BRIGHTON Patterns
Fri April 21 2023 - LONDON Garage
Sat April 22 2023 - MANCHESTER Canvas Manchester
Thu April 27 2023 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Fri October 20 2023 - HALIFAX Arden Road Social Club

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