Alt-J, British indie-rock band, released their second album This is All Yours on September 22.
Although the album is their first ever without bassist Gwil Sainsbury, several pre-released singles including “Left Hand Free” and “Hunger of The Pine” made the Top 200 Singles on iTunes.
While these tracks gained early recognition, the album as a whole has gotten some ‘meh’ reviews from fans of their debut album, An Awesome Wave.
This reaction is somewhat understandable. It seems the overall feel of both albums differs in the sense that the new This is All Yours begins and ends with a lulling, drawn out tempo. The album’s apotheosis sits oddly in the very middle with “Left Hand Free,” with the exception of “The Gospel of John Hurt”.
Despite the drowsiness of the majority of the album, the artistic feel of the old school/new school mix of instruments as well as synthesized beats and unique vocals contribute to Alt-J’s “new Radiohead” sound.
I personally found each song to be rather enjoyable and intriguing, evoking a sense that the melodies belonged in a Sun Dance featured film. I could imagine a sweeping view of the English countryside with singer Joe Newman’s accent to match.
It seems the singles that made it to the top charts were the ones with interesting beats that were easy for listeners to grasp, while the lesser known songs required more in depth thought due to the eccentric, possibly poetic lyrics.
The best found example is “Nara”, a song essentially presenting the message of a man who is going to “marry a man like no other.” The song also laces in references of the Russian government’s oppression of the LGBTQ community, stating “unpin your butterflies, Russia”–butterflies being a symbol of LGBTQ people, and the pins symbolizing the oppression. The song was written around the time of the Winter Olympics in Russia, during which the host government openly condemned gay athletes.
Overall, the production makes for an album reminiscent of the early Beatles and Coldplay with their mix of indie, alternative and electro-British style. Their lyrics are peppered with odd words carrying profound meanings, only reflecting the predecessors more.
For those willing to patiently wait for the few uptempo moments, those trying to get some sleep or those willing to listen to poetry set to music, This is All Yours just might tickle your fancy.