The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

REVIEW: Dutch Uncles – ‘Big Balloon’ (Memphis Industries)

  • 8/10
    - 8/10


Big Balloon does nothing but reaffirm the view that if it’s quirky fun you’re looking for, then Dutch Uncles is the answer

Like so many Manchester bands, Dutch Uncles make their mantra abundantly clear – they want you to dance. However, there has always been something more interesting about the four-piece; where others are brash and blunt in their sound, Dutch Uncles pop-qualities lie in their poise and reflective manner. Big Balloon does nothing but reaffirm the view that if it’s quirky fun you’re looking for, then Dutch Uncles is the answer.

Opening title-track, ‘Big Balloon’, is a marvellous statement of what is to come; melodic vocals and jarring guitars light up the record as Wells blares out the triumphant hook “make me swoon like a big balloon / keep me light up at the root”. It’s everything we’ve come to expect from the Mancunians, but it is brilliant and sets LP five off on the perfect note.

Elsewhere, there is the choppy-pop of ‘Same Plane Dream’, a track that could be lifted from Field Music’s Plumb. The track constantly intrigues as a series of short bursts of guitar and keys blend together seamlessly to create a wonderfully well-textured track.

Following track ‘Achameleon’ mixes things up a bit with the band ditching the guitars for strings, the Uncles provide a lovely piece of tender chamber-pop, in the same vain as Meilyr Jones. It’s a charming tune which adds an extra layer to the sound of Big Balloon.

‘Oh Yeah’ provides the album with another glorious piece of pop. Following a similar all-conquering huge sound as the title-track, backed by splendiferous drums, the song serves as a reminder that the group are capable of writing any number of well-crafted pop.

From the opening bass of ‘Big Balloon’ to the wall of sound at the end of ‘Overton’,  the band constantly manage to balance a series of accessible dancefloor hits and wondrous instrumental pieces. If one thing is for certain, it’s that Big Balloon confirms Dutch Uncles place as one of the premier indie-pop bands in Britain. (8/10) (John Tindale)


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