If you were amongst the swathes of people theatrically rolling their eyes when they first heard Alt J’s name, you, oh skeptical reader, are not alone. On seeing the rather geometrical titling of ‘∆n ∆wesome W∆ve’, along with the apple-littered track naming, a hint of ominously growing despair is also understandable. The urge to take Alt J’s self-proclaimed favourite shape and drop-kick it towards the nearest Apple shop in an attempt to put an end to this ∆ nonsense may prove overwhelming.
Abandon those triangle-induced rants for a moment and move swiftly onto the tunes, which are, thankfully, a complete joy. For the most part this is an album of futuristically minded off-kilt grooves, and even in softer moments like ‘Bloodflood’, or pretty ditty ‘Toro’ there is still plenty of rhythmic tomfoolery to keep things interesting. Any fans of The Mighty Boosh and its notorious ‘Four Way Crimp’ will be quite delighted with the odd-ball vocals that singer Joe Newman enlists throughout, with full lyrical eccentricity shining on the wonderfully weird ‘❦ (Ripe & Ruin)’. Everyone else will be just be thrilled by the harmonic yelping anyway. ‘Breezeblocks’ is another beauty, and the drum groove slinks along like a fox skirting its way safely around a field filled with predictable sheep. The album continues to surprise and delight with the equally inventive ‘Fitzpleasure’, and while it might take some a couple of listens to fully embrace the largely indecipherable tribal howls and the quirks of Newman’s dancing falsetto, ‘∆n ∆wesome W∆ve’ is well worth the investment
There is always something very refreshing about something that defies expectation, especially when the band in question doesn’t feel the need to swan about like a bunch of pretentious twats after doing so. When DIY went to see Alt J playing second fiddle to Toro y Moi it was quite clear that this was ‘the band to watch’. The same rich, exciting and texture packed sound we saw live comes across flawlessly in ‘∆n ∆wesome W∆ve’. With far more substance than any of our violent first impressions might suggest, this debut effort is firmly about the music, and Alt J succeeds quite comfortably in proving the skeptics wrong.
More like this
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.
Its strength is in packing not just alt-J’s usual futuristic twist, but a heavy side serving of nostalgia too.
First week of the year, first round-up of the biggest and best new tracks out.
As the trio head away to work on album four, it’s clear their penchant for weirdness isn’t diminishing.