UK art rockers' third album sounds great on paper but delivers a surprisingly unmemorable experience.
It’s always frustrating when you can clearly hear something good waiting to pop out but it never seems to do so. Dutch Uncles have made this their career direction of choice: their first two albums had moments of promising excellence swimming underneath what were otherwise slightly flawed albums, and rather than build up on that to deliver their masterpiece, their third actually takes a step backwards after the promising build-up. On paper Dutch Uncles sound great with their art rock leanings and Duncan Wallis’ frail yet surprisingly engaging vocals, and in theory Out of Touch, in the Wild should be their crowning moment so far: the sound mixes together elements from the first two albums into a refined concoction, the production is tighter than it has been… and yet the band sound more lost than ever. The time signature flips, style changes and added instrumentation sound fancy but can’t hide that as songs, the ten tracks here often sound somewhat aimless. What’s worse, Wallis’ voice often ends up disappearing amid everything else and feels like it’s barely there to begin with.
Like with the last two albums you do get some parts that bring you back to re-listen just in case you missed something in the first go-round (most notably "Flexxin" and "Threads"), but largely the material on Out of Touch, in the Wild briefly says hello when it begins and then disappears into the background for the rest of its duration. To its credit it’s hard to pick anything truly negative about the album, but unfortunately often it’s hard to pick anything about in general to begin with.