Release Date: February 00, 2016
Release Date: June 24, 2016
Ultimately, Big Balloon probably won't gain them many new fans, but while the album suffers just a tad from relentless busy-ness, its proggy ambition combines with Wallis' penchant for gently ambitious, catchy melodies to make a creative work very few artists are capable of achieving.
Big Balloon finds them cranking up the tempo and reconnecting their guitars after 2015’s largely synth-driven O Shudder, though the result is less a stylistic refresh than a confident reaffirmation of their combined output up until now.
Allowing the right amount of self-awareness into the creative process isn’t always easy, but Dutch Uncles have come closer than ever to finding that balance on Big Balloon.
For their fifth album, Big Balloon, all the appropriate ingredients are there: the jerky rhythms, the unusual time signatures and opaque lyrics are all present and correct, along with a strange feeling that you’re not entirely sure what’s going to happen next.
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.
The arrival of Occult Architecture Vol 2 later this year will mark another moment of judgement, when Vol. 1 can be assessed in its full context. But for now, it’s a worthy instalment in the Moon Duo canon and a fine record on its own terms.
It might not hit Dumb Flesh’s dancefloor highs but with decent headphones and a windswept night there’s points on here that are damn near-transcendental, although the damage left might be permanent.
As The Tourist continues to unravel, so too do the tracks – captivating in parts, but lacking a unifying urgency.
Hats off to Alec Ounsworth for keeping the faith and working hard, but while there’s some quirky songwriting and clever lyrical tales on The Tourist, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah just don’t seem to be hitting the mark that they once did.
Last remaining member Alec Ounsworth’s fifth album begins with a promise of recalibration: The Pilot and A Chance to Cure are lusciously produced, but that spaciousness quickly resolves into knotty, ambling anthems of frustration.
The Tourist is a welcome shift from the amorphous electronica of the band's last effort, but the haphazard pacing and overreliance on platitudes and generalizations prevent the album from fully achieving the emotional potency aimed for by Ounsworth's trembling voice.
The album's missteps aren't egregious; rather, it's that after multiple listens, very little sticks. The Tourist's inconspicuousness is its biggest issue.
A drift back towards the margins is undoubtedly a drift back towards Ounsworth’s strengths, and The Tourist is the best music he has made this decade.
Immaculately produced – it is the cleanest Clap Your Hands Say Yeah album yet – and full of Alec Ounsworth’s trademark yowl, ‘The Tourist’ represents only a limited sort of journey.
While the holistic craftsmanship of Ounsworth's musicality is impressive, ultimately it's his anguished, romantic vocal croon that sticks with you on The Tourist, ever dichotomously imbued with both a deep sense of loneliness and a pop-centric sense of self-determination.