Alt-J FINALLY Makes “This Is All Yours”… All Mine. You’re Lucky I’m Sharing.


Maybe you’re unaware of how much I love Alt-J (yes — their band name was originally supposed to just be a triangle symbol, and they renamed their band as the letters corresponding on a keyboard to make such a symbol). Maybe you’re also unaware of how this Mercury Music Award-winning project is simply genius, and was worked into (now defunct HBO show) Weeds way before you knew who Mary Louise Parker was — and just how badass that show was, and you needed to be watching it regardless of its (amazing) soundtrack.

Look, you’re forgiven, at any rate. Time for their sophomore album, and it’s beautiful. Effing breathtaking. Definitely unexpected. Yet, slightly familiar.

Track-by-track, y’all.

This Is All Yours
released 22 September 2014

1. Intro – Highly styled way to, for lack of a better term, introduce your album. This sets up the entire experience, y’all. It’s technically advanced and interesting, without being stuffy or fussy. Once Joe Newman’s voice kicks in, you just know you’re in for brilliance. By the end of this track, the energy is palpable. Like we’re all about to embark on an epic journey.

2. Arrival in Nara – How fitting is this title?! On the quest. We begin in a beautiful green field dotted with flowers. (Work with me, here… use your damned imaginations, people!) “But, Maven, you hate slow jams!” you say. Au contriare! This is far from a slow jam, and more a musical expression. The lyrics are insightful and the vocals reflect the style of the piece. It’s about a young girl drowning, and she begins to sing when she realizes this, so she can die doing something she loves. #heartbreak

3. Nara – So, here’s another lyrically interesting track, declaring homosexual love for a man. Yep. You read that right. Lyrics aside (love is love is love is love), how aurally INTERESTING is this?! Layer upon layer of interest. Dissect it. That bass. Get lost in it.

4. Every Other Freckle – SEX. SEXXX. I mean, these lyrics: “Turn you inside out, and lick you like a crisp packet” ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?! Ugh, go find someone good and do the bad thing to this. And thank me later.

5. Left Hand Free – There was a rumor going around the music world that Alt-J’s record company (Infectious Records) felt that the first released single, which we shall discuss shortly, was not marketable enough to create buzz in the mainstream indie world (how those words even effing fit together is beyond me). In response, Alt-J allegedly wrote this song, decidedly the LEAST Alt-J sounding track on the entire album, and in their repertoire. Not my fave. It’s catchy, but I just can’t. I’m a purist.

6. Garden of England – Interlude – Seriously, I didn’t know how to react to this the first time I heard it. I was like, “Did I accidentally copy my old Handel CD into my iTunes, WTF?!” (Water Music, FTW, btw… if you don’t appreciate classical, you suck.) I think this is artfully and expertly placed. Getting out of the shit that is Left Hand Free is tricky when the rest of your track listing is amaze. Bravo.

7. Choice Kingdom – See? And the interlude was the perfect setup for this! All I can say is that it’s a bit like hypnosis. Careful driving with this one on.

8. Hunger of the Pine – I’ve blogged about this one before. I think Soundcloud took it down. EFF YOU, SOUNDCLOUD! (It’s a love/hate thing) But, seriously, I loathe me some Miley. I find her to be the most annoying person on the planet, tied with Kim Kardashian. NOT my cup o’ tea. But this?! THIS IS EEEEEEEVERYTHING. EVERYTHING.

9. Warm Foothills – I feel a massive disconnect between the badassery of Hunger of the Pine and this happy-go-lucky, almost childlike track. But I love it. You’ll catch yourself humming it in the shower, I promise.

10. The Gospel of John Hurt – I just can’t get over this driving, mystical beat in the background. This is slick. In case you’re wondering, John Hurt is this guy, whom you may recognize from V for Vendetta… because we’re all basic, and most of us have never seen this guy’s expansive body of work. Oh, UNLESS you recognize him from Doctor Who; that’s pretty effing awesome. IJS. Anyway, this well-respected actor is most widely known in the UK, and seeing as Alt-J’s members hail from Leeds, this makes sense to me. If it doesn’t make sense to you, that’s ok… because this track is prime, anyway.

11. Pusher – I can’t describe this as anything other than a river of sound. It’s lilting and intense, but offers a sense of solitude. You hear those birds? Hear ’em? Listen closer! When you need a break from rush-hour traffic, I’d have to suggest switching this on, before you decide to kill someone.

12. Bloodflood, Pt. II – The fact that those birds seamlessly transition the previous song to this one, and make way for that gorgeous and complex bassline… I mean, shit. I give up. These guys deserve all the awards. Give them up, people. Effing flawless production, classical instruments ingeniously incorporated, beautiful harmonies… the TALENT, people. THE TALENT!

13. Leaving Nara – No words. Do you hear that scratch? That static? DAT BASS. Each time I hear this track I’m blown away. Quite the departure from how serene the first few tracks were, when we first entered Nara. I mean, if this is leaving, I’ll leave every hour. But, still… this ending feels incomplete…

14. Lovely Day (Bonus Track) – I’m glad this was included. If you’ve ever seen Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, the background is reminiscent of the score in that movie. Go watch and listen… and then listen to this track. Tell me it doesn’t parallel… and even fit in with the mood. I almost want this in the end credits. What an outro. Holy crap.
EDIT: “What an idiot that Maven is!” — I literally just realized that this is a cover of the Bill Withers hit of the same name. If you need to line it up, too, check out the original here.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Much more artistic, less banger, this time around. I applaud these men. I feel like this should become a reawakening to the possibilities that fundamentals serve to create. I want all of you to enroll in some sort of classical music appreciation course, immediately. You can thank Alt-J. ♦♦♦♦¾/5.

One comment on “Alt-J FINALLY Makes “This Is All Yours”… All Mine. You’re Lucky I’m Sharing.”

  1. […] album is simply one of the best of the best of the best of the mothaeffing BEST. Read my review here. Download it. Listen along! And see why it […]

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