Alt-J - 'An Awesome Wave' album review

'Sure to make more awesome waves around the festival circuit this summer'

Virtual Festivals on 31 May 2012

Though Alt-J (?) formed at Leeds University in 2007, it seems they've exploded from nowhere over the last few weeks, filtering through national radio playlists to rave reviews. It's easy to see why.

'Intro' is a mesmerising two minutes of delicate riffs and intricate hooks to whet your appetite and introduce 'Tessellate', the first triumphant and musically accomplished song on the album. Showing off the intelligent and creative songwriting ability of the band, Singer/guitarist Joe Newton croons “triangles are my favourite shape/ three points where two lines meet/ toe to toe, back to back, let’s go my love, it’s very late/ ‘til morning comes, let's tessellate.” His silky tones, intertwined with falsetto harmonies, make for a sublime track.
 
Alt-J (?)’s name is the keyboard shortcut on a Mac which creates the delta sign. Used to show change in mathematical equations, it's also a fair reflection on the album, with songs forever morphing into different styles and genres.

'Breezeblocks' is the track currently gracing the airwaves, and it illustrates perfectly the ‘folk-step’ sound they’ve created. With a punchy chorus full of dense synth riffs dropping into fluid folk verses, it's a sound which is completely fresh and new. It’s a joy to listen to.
 
There's a simple elegance to the whole album. The simple guitar riffs and keyboards of 'Something Good' harmonise beautifully with Newton’s soft voice; it’s a delightfully chilled out summer song which evokes scenes of festivals in that hued dawn light.

'Fitzpleasure', on the other hand, is filled with heavier synths to compliment the powerful vocals, whilst ensuring the folk roots of the band aren’t lost in the mix. On top of the songs, throughout the album there are three interludes, which never seem to crop up anymore. but the minute-long instrumental tracks are well placed to show a glimpse into Alt-J (?)’s world and the influences they’ve used on this stunning album.
 
'An Awesome Wave' is a hammer blow to the mundane and predictable ‘alternative’ music scene. The quartet has produced a spectacular debut album filled with exciting songs delivered with verve. They're a band to watch and are sure to make more awesome waves around the festival circuit this summer.
 
9/10

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