Alt-J didn’t manage to get over themselves here, but they don’t sound like trying to do it at all. They’re just being Alt-J, exactly how they were introduced two years ago.
1. Intro 2. Arrival In Nara 3. Nara 4. Every Other Freckle 5. Left Hand Free 6. Garden Of England 7. Choice Kingdom 8. Hunger Of The Pine 9. Warm Foothills 10. The Gospel Of John Hurt 11. Pusher 12. Bloodflood pt. II 13. Leaving Nara
Release Date: 22 September 2014 Label: Infectious Records Tracks to Notice: Every Other Freckle, Left Hand Free
When a band’s debut album is awarded with the Mercury Prize then the second will be long awaited and quite demanding. Now if the band manages to fulfill the expectations of the new, fast obtained fans along with their own then the future seems bright. This relatively modern sound of Alt-J in the 2012 ‘An Awesome Wave‘ seems appealing to this particular award and since the musical approach here on ‘This Is All Yours‘ isn’t really far from its predecessor it’s not unlikely to see it shortlisted in September 2015.
Alt-J (shortcut for Greek Δ in certain Mac keyboard layouts) have created one more album on the style we got to know them and inevitably they sound slightly more mature, possibly having realized what exactly they’re up to and how they want to sound like. Several parts of this album reminded me of the first one, but that’s not for the worse. There are thirteen songs here and maybe just one or two could end up being successful singles or gig favorites. Nevertheless, the total outcome won’t displease their old fans, but their first album is still the best way to get to know them.
From the songs that stand out and could possibly compete the likes of ‘Breezeblocks‘ are the singles ‘Every Other Freckle‘ and ‘Left Hand Free‘. The former with a bit of tricky drumming, alterations in vocals and a totally catchy little riff by Gus Unger-Hamilton on keyboards that also occasionally imitate some kind of flute, while the latter is the hit they rely on especially for the upcoming European tour, starting next February. Flutes mentioned, this “short break” entitled ‘Garden Of England‘ is as distant from the whole album style as fitting is the title for the music played.
Another single which was released this summer is ‘Hunger Of The Pine‘ sampling Miley Cyrus‘ “I’m a female rebel” from her song ‘4×4‘. It’s not the first time those two are cooperating since the young pop star had used their song ‘Fitzpleasure‘ in one of her shows. Moving on, ‘Warm Foothills‘ has quite some folk elements, while electronic sound comes back right next with ‘The Gospel Of John Hurt‘, written for that creepy scene in the movie Alien (1979) in which an alien worm bursts out of actor’s John Hurt chest.
‘Nara‘, along with arriving and leaving from there embrace the album offering an aura of a fairy tale, even mentioning Narnia‘s lion, Aslan. Alt-J didn’t manage to get over themselves here, but they don’t sound like trying to do it at all. They’re just being Alt-J, exactly how they were introduced two years ago. For now, this pattern seems to be satisfactory, but whether the same is going to hold for their third album is a bet they have to gamble on, hopefully soon.