TWO years on from An Awesome Wave comes Alt-J’s hugely anticipated follow-up to that Mercury Music Prize-winning debut, and cannily released right in the middle of Mercury season too.
It’s a clever ruse – remind the casual onlooker exactly who this most visually anonymous of bands are without making it too obvious – but This Is All Yours doesn’t need any such gimmickry.
It’s an enthralling record. Like Scottish forebears The Beta Band, Alt-J have perfected the art of incorporating huge numbers of elements into their music without the overall sound appearing cluttered.
Songs veer from filmic almost-instrumentals (Intro, Arrival in Nara) to Costello-like anthems (Left Hand Free), with a handful of others showcasing the sound of the band getting their groove on. Single Hunger of the Pine and Bloodflood Part II in particular stand out in that respect, while Warm Foothills, all gentle loveliness, is the warmest and most beautiful thing here.
Lyrically it’s as pretentious as ever and there are enough shocking couplets to fill Private Eye’s Pseuds’ Corner well into next year, but look beyond that and it’s well worth immersing yourself in.
Like this? Try these? Beta Band, The Three EPs; Radiohead, OK Computer
By Andrew Greenhalgh