Who Knew a Keyboard Shortcut Could Make Music?
by Andrew Grant (Staff Writer)
Alternative bands are weird. Half of them sound the same, and the others are pretentious. However, in music, being pretentious and weird is good for marketing. Having cover art that looks like a turkey painted by the disturbed lovechild of Van Gogh and Warhol makes the people who still go to record stores pick it up and give it a look. Having a track list that sounds like the scene selection on some trippy pseudo-biblical movie will help people remember different tracks. Because of this, Alt-J rises above the generic primordial ooze of modern alternative music.
Their latest album, This Is All Yours, was released September 22nd by Infectious Records, following their 2012 debut, An Awesome Wave. Radiohead’s experimental electronica albums heavily influenced the instrumental on the first album, on which the inherent sadness of the style was balanced out with a good-natured vocal tone. Though it wasn’t flawless; the vocals did not always fit with the instrumental. At times, they clashed like a nineties prom dress.
This Is All Yours is fairly similar. Both albums begin with an intro and have grounding in sampled sounds, along with instrumental and vocals. However, the sound used is different this time. The instrumental line now uses softer synthesizer notes, as well as soft vocalizations to give a more tragic tone. The vocalist has abandoned the good-natured speaking for a melancholic crooning. There’s sadness on every level, and it’ll even take laughing gas down a notch. The lyrics describe deep terror and despair: perfect for perpetually sad college kids craving music that understands them.