Review: Alt-J ‘An Awesome Wave’

A bit slow on the uptake I know but I’d thought to jump on the Alt-J bandwagan to see what all the fuss was about. Honestly, I haven’t stopped listening to their album for the past two weeks.

First up I love the way that the tracklisting is like a story. Similar to Coldplay’s latest album Mylo Xyloto with intervals and interludes breaking the album up into different bits, something a lot of albums are doing at the moment. Coined with the genre ‘folkstep’ it certainly has that too trendy for Topman sound, and Topman is pretty up there when it comes to cool. Alt-J have created a sound so different to the mainstream and yet have brought it to the mainstream. It’s got a haunting Frodo-esk edge to it with vocals sounding like they belong to an underground cult of musical mammals, think Wind in the Willows, combined with great riffs and something I like in all my music an interesting rhythm mixed with bass. The drums are beautiful in an angelic way whilst the guitar brings the grunge, and together they present a niche so old in a fabulous retro way yet brought straight into the modern light with something I can’t quite put my finger on.

There’s not much I can fault about this album, all the songs are brilliant with particular favourites Matilda, Breezeblocks and Fitzpleasure. The boyfriend, as a sound engineer, commented on the quality of recording not being up to scratch but I quite like that it’s not aesthetically perfect, that’s what makes it so interesting to listen to.

On the other hand, their cover of Alex Clare’s Too Close in the Radio 1 Live Lounge the other day was alright, not outstanding.

But based on the album alone…Rhyme and Shine rating: 9/10


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