Dutch Uncles Out of Touch in the Wild

The UK is currently awash with bands making smarter pop music, such as Django Django and alt-J, who won last year's Mercury Music Prize for their debut. Manchester band Dutch Uncles haven't been quite so lucky when it comes to universal acclaim, but their third album is at least a baby step in the right direction. With their obtuse arrangements and skittering rhythms, there's no doubt that Dutch Uncles are trying their utmost to buck the conventions of mainstream pop, but whether they are actually successful is up for debate. They share some of the prog-y sensibilities of labelmates Field Music and there's definitely some of the swagger that Wild Beasts love to demonstrate, yet too many of the songs struggle against their density. Layering ideas is great, in theory, but on Out of Touch in the Wild it turns out to be overwhelming and eventually exhausting. Taking songs individually is the way to go, as tracks like "Fester" and "Brio" show that they do get the balance just right on occasion, making Out of Touch in the Wild worth investigating. (Memphis Industries)