September 25, 2014

Another awesome wave, but This Is All Yours.

Ah, it's been awhile. However, I like to come out of the woodwork to talk about great things or things that hold importance to me. Alt-J's latest release of This Is All Yours definitely makes that list.


After seeing them in March 2013 over at The Metro, having the lucky encounter of meeting Gus afterwards, and then seeing them again at Lollapalooza that year, I was all about Alt-J. Seeing how much they have grown, not only musically, but also in terms of their fan-base, is awesome. I was over the moon about An Awesome Wave (and I still am), and while I like so many of the songs on their own, I still believe the album is better listened to in full. It seems it was completely intended that way, and rightfully so. This Is All Yours definitely holds that same effect. Like their first album, which remember, snagged the Mercury Prize, there are some parts that are scary slow, almost like a melodic dream sequence. I like that effect in albums, as long as there is some sort of nice variation throughout. I feel like Alt-J knows what they're doing with this. If you recall, An Awesome Wave was loaded with small interludes (three of them to be exact), all contrasting between the heavier jams, like 'Fitzpleasure', 'Breezeblocks', and 'Tessellate', which were all absolute works of art and are some of my favorites. Trying to pick an favorite off of that album is like trying to pick the best kind of pizza- they're ALL good. I highly recommend just buying their first album, but if you can't do that, check it out HERE.

What I really enjoy about Alt-J is their ability to have such a cathartic effect. The range of emotions that their songs are able to cover is absolutely astounding. You get that feeling of grit it one song, and then float away on the melody of another. On their latest, they are down a member. Gwil had left the band, and the three that were left created a musical journey. On This Is All Yours, like the former, 'Intro', kicks this one off. I absolutely love the later version, perhaps even more than I liked the initial. It feels like a destination whenever I listen to it. It offers some sort of vibe that I cannot quite fully explain, perhaps the figurative feeling of someone unscrewing your capsule of inhibitions and thoughts and letting them swirl around in some other setting in some other place. 'Arrival In Nara' is one of those "scary slow" songs that almost acts as an interlude, however, it allocates you to have some sort of escapism within the flow of the song. The lyrics are beautiful and falls upon such a glowing harmony of notes. It makes me think of a million things at once, and the song seems to become my backdrop for all of those thoughts and emotions I'm currently feeling. It's nice to have songs that are this gentle, it's just unfortunate that most of the time I prefer some sort of groove to my jams. As I stated before, it's one of those songs that works when sampling the entire album. Then you have 'Left Hand Free' which sounds like something that The Black Keys and Tom Petty had a say-so on; it's got that freedom to it, that scratch of twang and pop. It's the obvious choice for the single off of this album, but there's so much more to explore, since most of the album doesn't sound like this. You can most likely find me going crazy to 'Hunger of The Pine' or 'The Gospel of John Hurt', which both have an excellent vibe to them. A little bit groovy, a little bit dark, but definitely lay the vibe down thick. 'Bloodflood P II' is a rad follow up for sure. A relaxing and beautiful add-on to the awesome 'Bloodflood' from An Awesome Wave. Again, it's hard to choose just one song that hits me the right way, because so many of them do. This album just has this earthy vibe, a tribal effect; some songs just make you feel this awesome sense of connection. Maybe that's just me, but I feel that it is a truly beautiful album. Alt-J knows how to put some exquisite sounds together and merge some of the most magical things into musical perfection, there are so many parts that are so emotional and so gentle...

Needless to say, it is absolutely worth your time. I wish I had an open field surrounded by forests, a phenomenal pair of headphones, and a warm breeze to properly listen to this album, to fully let it sink in.  However, any other way works, I promise.