Words: Fiona Christensen
Iris swims quietly beside me
Oh the leaves and larger weeds sway and stretch themselves beneath
Blue dragonflies dart to and fro
I tie my life to your balloon and let it go
| Alt-J – Warm Foothills |
It is finally here. The holy grail of album releases for me has come out and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It has been two long years since Alt-J released their first album, An Awesome Wave which was very well received and earned the band a few chart toppers around the world. And after watching them live last year, their top notch standard was maintained in my books on their stellar performance at Rocking the Daisies 2013. Since then I have waited patiently (because good things come to those who wait) for the next release, This Is All Yours, which was released on 22 September 2014.
I have listened to nothing else for the day and each song brings something new every time I listen to it, in true Alt-J fashion. The three singles which were pre-released, being Hunger of the Pine, Every Other Freckle and Left-Hand Free were well received and people were practically dripping for the full album. And already, despite only being properly released for a day, the album has received premium ratings in multiple countries such as the UK, Germany and Australia.
The album has kept to the band’s slightly schizophrenic sound, made up of many instruments, harmonies and that classic Alt-J acapella sea of voices that gives you goosebumps when it’s turned up loud. And of course Joe Newman’s voice doesn’t fail to bring forth the interesting lyrics the band has become known for. In The Gospel of John Hurt we hear the soft beat of a quietly haunting song, with Newman’s voice lulling everyone into a dream-world, much like the lyrics of the song. We see song continuations, like Bloodflood II and Intro, from the first album which is a nice touch, especially for the die-hard fans of Alt-J; and it’s almost a comfort, like an extension of a limb from their previous album. This album however, is a much lighter album, with a lot less crescendo’s and heavy beats that An Awesome Wave brought us, possibly due to the departure of the bands bassist Gwil Sainsbury in January 2014. Yet it doesn’t make it any less amazing and still I find myself wanting to cry with happiness with each note and lyric made by this fantastic now trio.
Warm Foothills, another song off the album, features voices of Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Lianne La Havas, Sivu, and Marika Hackman, and brings forth a delicate combination of acoustic guitar and xylophone that is so light, and so beautiful, it will make you melt inside. Another favourite of mine from the album is Pusher, another softer song with lyrics every person connects to in some way or another. Also keep a look out for Nara and Arrival In Nara.
The thing with Alt-J though is that there is more to their music, than just the sound. Their music videos are each in their own a work of art, combing clever imagery and cinematography to create a little 3-6 minute video of awesome. The four videos that have been released as of yet are all great accompaniments to the songs and I never tire watching that cat fall into the beanbag in Every Other Freckle.