Single Review: Dutch Uncles – Fragrant

By on Monday, 6th September 2010 at 2:00 pm

Dutch Uncles (or ‘Duncles’ as fellow Mancunian and proud band supporter Mike Joyce likes to call them) have a unique, intriguing sound. They’re unlike anything I’ve heard over here in America lately. Really, go over to their MySpace and check them out, because me trying to explain their sound to you is as unlikely successful as Gok Wan trying to describe the more esoteric wrinkles of footy. Maths pop? I think that oversimplifies things.

You see, Dutch Uncles are a band that prides themselves on being different. And you wouldn’t expect anything less from a band that counts such disparate bands as XTC and King Crimson as influences. I personally don’t hear the prog influence in their music; what I have heard of the band makes me want to jump up and shimmy, which isn’t really in the prog rock code of decorum, is it? (Then again, the first thing that pops in my mind when someone says ‘prog’ is Geddy Lee whining on Rush’s ‘Limelight’.)

‘Fragrant’ is the band’s forthcoming single, to be released 11 October digitally on Memphis Industries. It features engaging guitars (I’m a fan of the funky bass line in particular) and the always quirky vocals of frontman Duncan Wallis, who has admitted the salacious subject of the song is incest but is quick to point out that the origin of the lyrics was watching a film on the subject (stay tuned for my interview with him coming soon on TGTF). Straightforward topics like love and heartbreak may be the domain of the average pop band but not for Dutch Uncles. And I like a band that makes me think.

The b-side, ‘Lovebone’, is not as immediately poppy as ‘Fragrant’. Beginning with space age droning, the track then dives headfirst into an instrumental maelstrom before Wallis’s voice comes in. But it’s unmistakably Dutch Uncles. And definitely a grower.


‘Fragrant’ will be released digitally on 11 October by Memphis Industries, with a physical release to follow on 1 November. Catch Dutch Uncles as support on Sky Larkin’s UK tour this month, starting on Tuesday 14 September in Aberdeen.

Header photo by Katie Dervin

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