Album review: This Is All Yours by Alt-J
PUBLISHED: 16:50 17 September 2014 | UPDATED: 16:50 17 September 2014
After U2’s stunt with Apple last week saw their latest record scandalously invade my iTunes library without consent, I was in half a mind to tear into the whole sordid affair. Thankfully, a notification from Spotify a few days later offered me (note ‘offer’, Apple) the chance to listen to the new Alt-J album.
Considering their debut, An Awesome Wave, won the Mercury Prize two years ago, it was an chance gladly took up.
Continuing to fly the flag for delicate melodies and recurring tones of eerie folk tradition, This Is All Yours isn’t a massive departure from their last outing, but nor does it need to be.
With blues, electronica and R&B influences enjoying cameos abound, the maturity and diversity of their sound is one that most bands would only start to establish three or four records in - if at all - so what we’re left with here is a chance to focus on the sheer ambition of the songwriting itself.
Early standout Nara glistens through a patient, ominous build up until a rousing, quasi-religious refrain of ‘hallelujahs’. Such haunting intent is frequent throughout the record; Choice Kingdom sees Joe Newman lock harmonies with Gus Unger-Hamilton like Simon and Garfunkel at their most delicate.
Newman’s vocals by themselves can at times grate through their sighing earnestness and it’s nice to hear him emerge from a constant whisper on bluesy jaunt Left Hand Free.
Overall, this is a beautifully constructed effort that makes a mockery of the difficult second album.
Rating: Four stars
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