Review: Alt-J- This is all yours

Written by Richard Giles

If you're an Alt-J fan, you might be surprised that I find their new album "This is all yours" to be their best album yet. In fact, i'd go as far to say that it was my top album pick for 2014, if not one of my favourites of all time. Maybe this is because it is not conventional Alt-J, but something completely different, a huge step up from their first album "An awesome wave" whilst maintaining elements of their traditional, quirky style.

It may take a few listens to get to grasps with the album, but once you do it is one that will be on repeat throughout the house. The intro alone is perfection, combining elements from Indian, Japanese and British music cultures to create a flawless track with inspiring drumming, harmonies and riffs before any lyrics have even been sung.

To be honest, upon first listening I thought the album to be a bit of a dud. The first 10 minutes of the album passes without so much of a pulse; There's the introduction and then "Arrival at Nara", which is essentially a secondary introduction and a very deflating post-hype entree. But how wrong could I have been? Each listening offers another dimension to the album and you begin to pick up on minor subtleties, such as emotions, lyrics and images that weren't originally triggered. Indeed, you realise that it is not at all a load of 'nothing' tracks, but rather Alt-J successfully taking the listener on an emotional journey with them through the landscape of Japan and the personal struggles the band have faced over their 2014 hiatus.

However, the album wasn't without it's criticisms. Indeed the song "Left hand free" was rated one of the worst songs of 2014, and had some critiques claiming that Alt- J had lost touch with their audience. Yet, I believe that this is a step forward for the band, as they show a new side of themselves and a stage of song writing which doesn't always harmonise with expectation. By stepping out and changing their persona, they can only move forward and this adds new hype to forthcoming albums!

So too does this album present a softer, personal and unique side of vocalist Joe Newman; with the song "Warm foothills" presenting a classy and polished folk duo with flawless harmonies. This stripped back track is a nice change from the bands usual complex sound and really allows a greater connection to form between the listener and artist.

In sum "This is all yours" really is one of those albums that provides everything; songs which can be played to put you to sleep, songs for long car trips or songs for parties. It combines genres and concepts in manners which other bands struggle with. If you're looking for inspiration and your confidence in the indie genre to be renewed, look no further.

A highly recommended album with plenty of potential and a thorough 9.5 out of 10 rating!

Favourite tracks: "Intro", "Hunger of the pine", "Warm foothills", "Gospel of John Hurt", "Bloodflood pt II"

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