Album Review alt-J - The Dream

Its strength is in packing not just alt-J’s usual futuristic twist, but a heavy side serving of nostalgia too.

alt-J - The Dream

By their very nature, alt-J are leftfield, travelling through time at the same pace as us, but slightly detached. There’s no pressure to reinvent the wheel. Fourth album ‘The Dream’ has the same relationship to reality as its predecessors, however alt-J have more offbeat storytelling fodder at their disposal than ever before: true crime obsession, crypto fanaticism and insidious corporations are just a few of what’s reflected on the record, all through a fun house mirror of stratospheric soundscapes.

Their tangentially psychedelic weavings of music and lyrics more poke and prod at the contemporary psyche than challenge: ‘Hard Drive Gold’’s tongue-in-cheek jibes at crypto bros come dressed up in a Beach Boys B-side sound; pseudo-cautionary tale ‘The Actor’ leans perhaps a little too much into its story and ends up feeling a little Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas sensationalised. The most unusual, but most impactful moments are where alt-J go for timeless: ‘Get Better’, the record’s most unadventurous in sound with just an acoustic guitar strumming isn’t typical alt-J, but its intentional simplicity is shattering. Similarly, ‘Walk A Mile’’s crooning chorus is a little more sonically intriguing, but still quietly unsettling with its trudging orchestral interjections. ‘The Dream’’s strength is in packing not just alt-J’s usual futuristic twist, but a heavy side serving of nostalgia too. It’s a perfect, subtle, and unpretentious combo.

 

Tags: alt-J, Reviews, Album Reviews

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alt-J have spent the past decade Trojan-horsing the mainstream, and with new LP ‘The Dream’, the trio are sticking up two fingers to the naysayers and celebrating their curious niche with gusto.