Alt-J, a group of young folks from Leeds (a city in West Yorkshire, England) have won a little spot in my heart. They really are one in their own. They are the by far the least predictable band I have heard that I actually liked, managing to change the entire mood just about every 30 seconds while keeping your interest right up to the end. They bounce between themes so frequently but still somehow keep them catchy, and I find myself constantly wondering what will they get into next. Every track off this demo is great in it’s own way.
I first heard these triangle loving lads (you get a triangle if you hold Alt and press J on a mac) on the radio in the car the other day and I’m so glad I have a car with a screen which displays the artist name because I had to have it. This song I speak of is “Fitzpleasure,” one of their newest of their 5 song release on Soundcloud. Either listen below or click here!
I’m going to get stream of consciousness on your asses for a minute while I attempt describing these guys since you clearly do not have the same abilities as I do. So here I go…their most recent Soundcloud release is “Fitzpleasure” (seen above). It begins with an eerie “tra la la” harmony which quickly transitions into an African tribal chant/jibberish before breaking down into some heavy guitar riffs and a clicky drumbeat with some light but ominous “whooaaaing” in the background. This moves gently into some Minus the Bear/Pinback reverby melody but quickly falls right back into their heavy Western style guitar riff. It then shimmy’s back into the Minus the Bear melody with slightly skittish percussion. But wait! This time with dualling guitars for an Explosions in the Sky epicness! I could continue…but I won’t because you get the point.
Singer Joe Newman’s vocals are so animated I can imagine he makes some strange faces and expressions as he sings. He reminds me of someone and I’m pretty sure it’s Nurses vocalist’s (as Travis put’s it) “androgynous nasal-word-noise that spews over bubbling pop songs.” Especially on “Breezeblocks.”
“Hand-made’s” fingerpicking resembles First Aid Kit’s “When I Grow Up” with Arcade Fire vocals and Fleet Foxes-like harmonies.
“Tessellate” features muffled guitar and a simple drumbeat allowing Joe’s voice to ring out. Interesting lyrics in this one.
“Three guns and one goes off. One’s empty, one’s not quick enough.
Triangles are my favorite shape. Three points where two lines meet.”
Last but not least is “Matilda.” Oh Matilda. By far the most beautiful song on the album with an acoustic guitar and what sounds like bongos.
Alt-J is weird. I don’t typically like weird music since it usually either doesn’t have a solid rythm or just sounds like shit. My opinion completely! But these guys are weird and I dig em. Alot actually. They have figured out how to stand out in massive clutter of music. I also want to recommend checking out their very simple website for the wonderful imagery that could quite possibly send you into a seizure if you’re not careful. Download their demo on Soundcloud now!