Dutch Schultz Tonight We Hunt Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

Northern Irish trio delivers a seriously good second album.

Mike Haydock 2012

Dutch Schultz are named after a Prohibition-era gangster and bootlegger. While touring their debut album, Carve Our Names, in 2009, the band took to the stage with a couple of semi-naked female pole dancers. A song on that album is called It Bends in the Middle, and the thing that bends is a penis.

Dutch Schultz, you see, are a bit laddy. A bit silly. They’re in the good-time game. They’re here to rock your socks off, implant a melody in your head, swill a few beers and have a laugh. Introspection? No thanks.

“You need to know: monkeys, they know,” Willy Mundell sings on this album’s opener, Monkeys. Then, on the sludgy, Quicksand-inspired 1000 Men, he sings about getting stuck in… quicksand. “I have an appointment with the Reaper!” he cries.

Despite this tendency to lunacy, Dutch Schultz are more focused on this album than they were on Carve Our Names. That record flung too many ideas at the wall to see what stuck, as they tried to reference all their heroes – Helmet, Tool, The Jesus Lizard, QOTSA – in one go. This time, while the hat-tips remain, Dutch Schultz have found some confidence in their own ideas, filtering the influences into a consistent thread.

The riffs are heavy and grungy throughout, but the real strength of Tonight We Hunt is in the melodies. Saints & Sinners and Big Dime are the killer songs here, the ones that live long after listening. The latter features Kerbdog frontman Cormac Battle, which is a perfect fit: even before he appears, the sonic connection to Battle’s band is palpable.

Elsewhere, Bernard Flannigan gets wondrously lost in the swaggering bassline on Sell Sell, while the stately crescendo of Eat Their Words offers a surprising change of pace bang in the centre of the album. And on the brooding verses of Fat Meets Dutch, it all goes a bit Jimmy Eat World.

This is a seriously good second album from the Northern Irish trio, one that hones their craft, tempering aggression with irresistible choruses. It will make you smile, sing and punch the air with delight.

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