Dutch Uncles – Out of Touch in the Wild Dutch Uncles – Out of Touch in the Wild

dutchI grew up in Los Angeles where the Pacific was king and Raiders gear was terrifying and, at one point, I very much wanted to be a robot. I’d wanted to be a doctor first, then an astronaut but something changed (which I’m currently trying to uproot with my new therapist) and suddenly it was my life’s great secret ambition to turn from pale boy to man machine and then just, pretty much, be awesome forever from there.

I didn’t have a plan but I did have a course of action. I would collect the neighborhood’s electronic refuse, crudely extract the most “scientific” looking parts (using my dad’s old sledgehammer and a discarded butter knife) and through an innate knowledge of future mechanics and artificial anatomy I’d rubber cement and duct tape my way into becoming…

I never did come up with a name for my next phase.

Just as well, I suppose, considering the fact that my wealth of untapped pre-adolescent genius didn’t keep a cache on theoretical engineering and so what I ended up with was a comically oversized (and quite uncomfortable) helmet made of circuit boards, wires and knobs which I would don whenever there was lightning about because Frankenstein worked, so why couldn’t I?

But the bolt never came and so I resolved to spend my days as just another boring human being with lizards and turtles and fish and a hamster and this cat that just plain hated me and maybe one day I could have a dog when I lived in the Hollywood Hills as a man who got rich just by accident.

Then there was Graceland.

I often reference that record disparagingly as I find that its influence has produced a wide swath of bloated, white caricatures whose privilege rests in culture theft and pedantic excess for which they are routinely (and ruefully) applauded but in listening to Dutch Uncles latest, Out Of Touch In The Wild I am reminded of just how revelatory Paul Simon’s ‘86 epic was to a failed boy scientist.

I had never, ever, EVER heard anything like it before with its bombastic African polyrhythmic wonder, pinched-nerve guitar licks and that wondrous wafting tenor (shored up by an indigenous chorus) raining melodious poetry down from endless, starry skies.

I kept it in my heart for years even when teen angst provided me Slayer and I burned most all my childhood dreams (literally, but we’ll going to address that in session next week) but as time crept on and my teeth grew long and yellow I forgot all about it. More than that, I disavowed it and with it the understated magic of Mr. Simon’s fifty plus year career because that’s what men do when they need to change. They smash their previous value and with spit, lies and the dust that remains between the still glimmering pieces form the clay in which they cast a new identity.

It’s a messy business living in skin. Far messier than these Marple boys might have been considering when they set their freshest batch of Ritalin rhythms to wax with such orchestral pop clarity but what can I say? Everything about Out of Touch reminds me of those 80s days when I surrendered my world of crude machinations to the new way of a Newark native.

Unfortunately, however that leaves me in a place where I’m unsure just how much I can appreciate this album. Yes, it forges a fond memory for who I’ve been but doesn’t speak much to who am nor where I’m going. It is smart, neat and jinglingly discrete. It will satisfy your mathlete, your pop geek and your wide-eyed 80s Casio freak but it’s just not for me. Not now, at least.

I’m listening ugly.

Out Of Touch In The Wild Tracklist:

1. Pondage
2. Bellio
3. Fester
4. Godboy
5. Threads
6. Flexxin
7. Zug Zwang
8. Phaedra
9. Nometo
10. Brio

Dutch Uncles - Out of Touch in the Wild, reviewed by Charles on 2013-04-30T08:21:43-07:00 rating 3.1 out of 5

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