, An Awesome Wave

on 10 May 2012 in Record Reviews

An Awesome Wave
7.5 / 10

Artsy debut for UK purveyors of self-described ‘folk-step.’

If all you did was read about Leeds outfit Alt-J, you’d be forgiven for thinking they had long disappeared at the wrong end of pretentiousness. After all, their band-name is technically an unpronounceable symbol (∆), with a history involving hallucinogens, Fine Arts degrees and members named Gwilym.

Work past the high-brow conceits (and their extraordinary origami packaging) however, and you’ll discover an act that isn’t too smart for their own good.

They mix a rhythmic approach to keys and guitar with textured vocals and claustrophobic beats to intoxicating effect on “Tessellate;” while “Dissolve Me” possesses both brighter strides as well as torchlight intimacy, without forgetting the hooks. Even the penultimate track, “Bloodfood” features a choir sidled alongside electronics.

Following in the footsteps of other sophisticated English forebears, namely the tertiary favoured Foals and intellectual Wild Beasts, without mimicking them; Alt-J’s ideas turn out to be as captivating to the ear as they are to the intelligencia.

- Al Newstead

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