Alt-J: An Awesome Wave (Infectious)

 |   |  <1 min read

Alt-J: Fitzpleasure
Alt-J: An Awesome Wave (Infectious)

These days genre-ignoring bands are so common they require no introduction or explanation.

But few are as provocative as Alt-J out of Cambridge, England who pull together slivers of Anglo-folk with hip-hop beats (like sons of the Beta Band), electronica ideas rendered acoustically, electro-blip from recent Radiohead, a cappella harmonies and angular pop of the romantic Belle and Sebastian-go-prog kind.

On paper that shouldn't work but when they nail the pop end (Matilda, Breezeblocks, the choral-inclined Ms) or get weirdly gritty (the downplayed but strange prog-pop of the twanging and sexually graphic Fitzpleasure) this really connects the dots. And Blood Flood pulls the threads together in one place.

Unsurprisingly this literate, conceptually-inclined band (lyrics linking across songs, lovely origami CD sleeve) met at university: there's intellect rather than gut instinct on songs like Tesselate and the conceit of an Intro and three inconsequential Interlude pieces which is a bit precious.

The Fleet Foxes-familiar closer Taro/Handmade – annoying with the hidden bit five minutes after the first part ends – shows while this is a slightly flawed confection they sound primed to be the Next Indie.Cult Thing to go middle-sized, if not bigger.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

Jos - Aug 13, 2012

Love these guys, best thing I've heard foe ages, the whole album is excellent.
Nicely weird.

Dean Jonasson - Aug 17, 2012

Arresting combination of sounds and textures. There are many influences and touchstones to recognize. (Being an old geezer) I also hear Howard Werth (Audience) in Joe Newman's vocals. It's how the human voice is presented, enhanced, stripped and/or reconfigured that gives Alt-J a distinctive identity. Certainly worth further investigation.

Mike ashby - Mar 14, 2013

Repeated listenings imposed by my 16yo son have convinced me that these guys are stunningly good. Beyond the wonderful textures, the wierd but wonderful instrumentation that, once you've adjusted your mind, become compelling, beyond all that are some stunning riffs and hooks and some gorgeous melodies. Matilda is just gorgeous. Like it more every time i hear it - the mark of a great album.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Chris Knox: KnoxTraxFine (thokeitapes cassette/download)

Chris Knox: KnoxTraxFine (thokeitapes cassette/download)

At the time of this writing it has been just over seven years (June 2009) since Chris Knox had his massive and debilitating stroke. In that period he has largely been a man of good cheer... > Read more

Various artists: Deep in a Dream (Stomp/Rhythmethod)

Various artists: Deep in a Dream (Stomp/Rhythmethod)

At some time in the mid Nineties I spent an afternoon in Melbourne talking with David McComb, the former singer-songwriter with the Triffids then Blackeyed Susans. He was as intelligent as I had... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE WRECKING CREW, a doco by DENNY TEDESCO

THE WRECKING CREW, a doco by DENNY TEDESCO

While no one would doubt the genius of Brian Wilson, he – like Duke Ellington and classical composers – needed others to realise his music. Initially (and remarkably briefly when... > Read more

COLIN LINWOOD INTERVIEWED (2014): Keeping the records straight

COLIN LINWOOD INTERVIEWED (2014): Keeping the records straight

The most extraordinary thing about the extraordinary Colin Linwood is just how ordinary he is. In his early 50s, he's married with children, has worked from the time he left school, is trim and in... > Read more