Alt-J – “An Awesome Wave”

by marcopantella

Go and type Alt-J on your Mac keybord and you will have a triangle. Actually it is the Greek letter ∆ “delta”, used in mathematical equations to show change, and if you listen to this British alternative quartet’s debut album “An Awesome Wave”, you might just realise that this is the best change of direction in this year’s music panorama.

The formula behind this record looks complicated throughout the first listening but it is accessible as different genres are combined, starting with the unsmooth sound of the guitar in the “Intro”, to the RNB influenced single “Breezeblock”, and the piano in “Something Good”, while ever-ascending melodies play as common denominator in this new indie-pop formula.

As the process of resolving equations involves differents steps, this album illogically spans from haunting sounds, see “Fitzpleasure”, to contorted a cappella interludes by vocalist John Newman.It feels like The XX and Radiohead try but never manage to meet each other halfway.

Alt-J’s obsession and explanation for the “delta” is the main theme of “Tesselate”, “Triangles are my favourite shape, three points where two lines meet”, and bizarre lyrics keep fitting all the unexpected melodies track after track. They are continuosly alluding to the need for a congenital contact, “Muscle to muscle, toe to toe”, creating a sensual, honest, and captivating mood.

Though the closing track “Taro” leaves the equation unresolved and the listener puzzled, “Matilda” and “Breezeblock” will settle in your head and this wave of clashing sounds and edgy songwriting promise to overwhelm you after every listening.