Dutch Uncles Big Balloon Memphis Industries
Dutch Uncles claim to have taken their cues from impressive touchstones such as David Bowie’s Low and Kate Bush’s The Red Shoes for their fifth full-length record. Anybody familiar with the Manchester outfit will recognise their reliable blend of art-pop on Big Balloon, but might struggle to pick out precisely where either of those two icons come into play.
Big Balloon is dutifully slick and assured in its weirdness, and its successes tend to come when the group aim for out-and-out aggression; the pointed title track pulls that off in opening the LP, as does Streetlight, which simmers with palpable tension. As usual, Duncan Wallis’ lyrics are opaque and heavy on metaphor; and in this sense he’s stuck to his stylistic guns on a collection of tracks that, otherwise, feels like the most wilfully retro thing the band have done so far. Big Balloon is another confident stride from a group that remain a hidden gem within the alt-pop world. The only concern is that here Dutch Uncles veer uncomfortably close to being predictable. Anathema for a band with weirdness ingrained so heavily in their DNA.