on 18 December 2012
I have been listening to this album for week now and it has grown on me and continues to grow as it presumably did on the judges for the Mercury prize. It is difficult to compare it to any other single artist or band - Radiohead have been quoted but really the only similarity I can see to Oxford's finest is the Selway'esque drumming on some tracks - but it is definitely not a Greenwood/Ed O'Brien style guitar album. The terrific ensemble singing reminds me of Fleet Foxes (who I don't particularly like) and the solo singing (and phrasing) of Billy Corgan, who I do, and even Marcus Mumford. The lyrics are consistently interesting (and included in full on the sleeve notes) and I particularly liked the idea (and execution) of the 3 unnamed one minute "palate cleansers" dotted amongst the 10 longer tracks. So my advice is not to buy this looking for something that sounds like someone else but buy it because it is different - a very rare thing in this day and age and something to be celebrated!
on 23 August 2013
This album is a must buy this year.
Alt-J's recent success is by no means overrated. Their songs are great from first listen.
Like many people, my only experience of Alt-J's music prior to buying the album was their single 'Breezeblocks' and 'Fitzpleasure'. I bought the album on my opinion of these two songs and although the songs are not all in the same style as them, I still thoroughly enjoy most of the album. The fact it includes and intro and 'interludes' makes you feel like you are listening to them live. The songs flow fluidly together and this seamless aspect makes it hard not to listen to the whole album all the way through every time you play it.
The songs are as follows:
1. Intro....Starts with a piano and slowly builds up into a whole song which makes you want to close your eyes and feel like you are floating on a cloud
2. Interlude I.....not labelled as a track on the CD but it is on there. It is acapella and the harmonies give you chills
3. Tessellate.....This song is slowpaced and one of my favorites. The moment when he sings 'lets tesssellate' and the music goes silent is another moment which gives me chills
4. Breezeblocks.....This is one of the singles for a reason. It is catchy and odd with the lyrics. The 'lalala' adds another texture to the music. Breezeblocks is a song that unexpectedly makes you want to dance.
5. Interlude II.....Nice bit of acoustic guitar with calming background sounds of vehicles and talking
6. Something Good.....Has a different feel in all the parts of the song. Each section is completely different yet they blend together sublimely and without you getting jolted by the sudden change.
7. Dissolve Me.....Bass coming in at certain points makes this song a real pleasure to listen to.
8. Matilda.....possibly my least favorite song, this one is a bit whiny, all the same it is catchy!
9. Ms.....This is the most chilled song. Its the kind of song that makes me think of someone with their eyes closed leaning against a car window listening to music with the raindrops running down the window.
10. Fitzpleasure.....This is one of the stand-out songs, with indecipherable lyrics and strong bass it never fails to be interesting
11. Interlude III.....calming lyricless singing with a piano underneath
12. Blood Flood.....Starts with a chilling moment with children speaking. Never fails to make me breath with song lyrics
13. Taro.....This is my favorite song on the album, has an amazing part when it breaks down into an eastern sounding melody.
14. Handmade.....Not sure whether this is the same track as Taro but it was certainly a nice surprise to feel like there was some kind of unlabelled 'bonus' track
The oddness of the lyrics plus the fact that you cannot even tell what they are saying part of the time makes this album and band even more charming.
Although I normally go for upbeat music, Alt-J doesn't fail to keep my attention for the entire almost 50 minutes of music.
on 22 September 2012
Personally i think this album is the breath of fresh air that music nowadays has craved. Totally original piece of work, nothing ive heard (so far) out there sounds like this.
it has elements of folk, indie, slight dub-step beats and beautiful harmonies. The band came up with a new genre to describe their music its called 'folk-step'
this album is a deserved nominee of the mercury music prize, i would put it in the top 3 out of that list.
on 3 August 2013
When I think of bands from the past who have gone on to do some really great stuff (Talking Heads, REM, Radiohead), their first album has usually got enough of interest to signal that greater things might come our way in the future, but it has by no means been at the heights they reached with later releases.
On just a few listens of Alt-J's first album there are enough signs of potential greatness here; some quirkiness (admittedly nothing remotely with the impact of Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer"), a way with tunes, an interesting voice (Stipe, Byrne and Yorke all have excellent, but unusual voices) and lots of diversity. Such diversity means that not all the songs might be to your taste, but its is at least a strong indication that this is not a one trick pony.
Who knows how far Alt-J may go, but I for one have found this one of the most interesting releases in recent years.
Buy this if you are open to something new (I'm not aware of anything else like this - although there are clearly many influences).
It'll be interesting to see what happens next.
on 20 June 2012
Been struggling a bit the last year or two to find any new music that inspires.
Took a gamble on this having never heard any Alt-J before, read the reviews and listened to the audio samples and that was enough already to convince me it was worth a purchase.
Wow, what an album! definately the best new music album I've purchased in some years, absolutely wonderful from start to finish and a breath of fresh air amoung the sea of drivel that floods the market these days.
The vinyl release is a nice heavy white vinyl and as with many recent vinyl releases comes with a dowload code for an MP3 of the album, went straight on my phone for when I'm out and about :-)
Highly recommended, thanks to Alt-J my faith in great new music has been restored.
on 14 June 2012
I don't write many recommendations, nor reviews. However, I do try to invest in buying new bands' releases partly because I'm looking for something different, maybe something fresh and I think that it's important that the new is encouraged as much as possible.
Regarding this album, upon the first listen, I must admit that I wasn't sure about this CD. It certainly was different but I wasn't at all sure about the vocal style, but a few days on, and a few more listens - and I have a different view.
They are not Radiohead. But then again they are even less like anyone else either.
If you like clever, intriguing music, that ranges from the melodic acoustic interludes, to taught sharp clever and well constructed songs, then give this a go.
This is not your average garage band. Sure, maybe they've been locked in a basement for too long, but this band aspire to be technically better than most, and to be more fun - and in my opinion they are.
on 12 November 2012
Not being a prolific reviewer, something has to make me feel passionate to write about it. This album has now won the Mercury Music Prize and there is much being written about it, most of which is good. Overall, there is a lot of pretentious spewing, both favourable and some not so. Just look at some of the nonsense on metacritic.
I will not demand you buy this, I will not tell you how empty your life will be without it but I will not tell you how dreadful it is either.
I feel inspired to share my opinion though, which as you have already probably guessed, is that I think it is outstanding.
It is not an easy first listen. It feels slightly disjointed and awkward at times. The vocals are unusual but they just do it for me. The lyrics are clever in places and slightly bizarre in others but allow for your own interpretaton. As familiarity with the album grew, so did my appreciation of its beauty.
It's not a particularly lively album, you won't be dancing around the living room listening to it or sticking it on to liven up a party. I actually prefer listening to it when I'm on my own.
The songs and interludes cover love, loss, pain and life. It is a wistful, emotional listen and progresses impressively throughout. It is an album that I listen to from start to finish, repeatedly.
There are also dips into modern culture. If you love the film 'Leon', you will love 'Matilda'. 'Taro' covers the fabled love of 2 war photographers. Rarely does an album make me look into the story behind songs in the way I have with Taro and Capa.
To say this is forging a new music genre is perhaps overstating things. There are hints of other bands in here. To say they are the best British band since Radiohead is obviously dependant on your perspective but if there is any love, pain or loss in your life and these songs connect with it, you will not be able to stop listening to it.
I, for one, cannot stop listening to it and that is rare for me with a new album these days.
I hope you get it, it gets you and you get it.
on 20 January 2013
Just... yeah. This album is lovely. Listen to it. All of it. At once, in order.
Also, Amazon downloads are pretty good, not the cheapest of things but sound quality is excellent (obviously, you pay for it) and can be loaded onto multiple devices and burnt to CDs.
on 10 November 2012
To say this is original,is like saying that breathing helps you survive,for this is astonishingly polisshed and crafted.the music not only pushes boundssries-it smashes them through to kingdom come.
I had only heard of this band by word of mouth,and it was only when i heard that they had been nominated for the Mercury Music awards,which they won,they i investigated further,and boy,am i glad that i did,for this is music of the future.
1......Intro(2.37) is a slow paced song which serves up the perfect start for the album.
2......Tesselatea short song with strange lyrics and effects in falsetto.
3......Breezeblocks(3.01) a magnificent piece of modern music.
4......Something good magnificent.(2.18).
5......Dissolve me....guess what its excellent(1.170
11.....Hand made(3.39)+ (0.53)+(4.09)+(12.41)
DVD(59.20)(Absolutely no worries)
a documentary about the band with live tracks
ps the cd player says 13 tracks
the booklet says 11
the cover says 10
With the confusion of track titles my anotations may be a little awry,i am partially sighted,and may have got some things wrong,but where i am right is that this is a magnificent triumph.
BEWARE!!! There are hidden tracks oi tnis album,see if you can find them!!!!!
RELEASED IN 2012
JOE NEWBURY......ELECTRIC GUITAR,VOCALS
GUS UNCOR HAMILTON......KEYBOARDS
VALUE FOR MONEY......£££££
BEST TRACKS......ALL EXCELLENT
CONTENDER FOR ALBUM OF THE YEAR
on 12 March 2013
I was introduced to Alt-J by a friend. At first I was apprehensive, but I was eventually won round enough to buy the album.
It has rocketed to the top of my most played list. And that's the entire album - every track.
There's something about the finished album that just works. It's simply wonderful to listen to. Fitzpleasure and Dissolve Me are definitely my favourite tracks. Normally I hate listening to singers who don't enunciate, but I think that his voice really works, even if you have to listen to the album 10 times to understand a word that he's saying. The music develops the more you listen to it - I initially thought that Fitzpleasure was just a harsh and bassy song, but once I finally listened to the words and twigged the context, it became massively creepy and incredibly moving. The group harmonies are flawless and there are real transitions in each song. They aren't afraid to play with the structure of their songs and this allows for spine tingling crescendos that completely alter the feel of the music.
It's amazing how quickly they've risen from being completely unknown to being played in the background of every vaguely perilous moment in any Channel 4 documentary / reality programme. The Mercury prize can't have hurt, but they definitely deserved it.