This is All Yours by alt-J
Favorite Tracks: Every Other Freckle, Nara, Gospel of John Hurt, Warm Foothills
Least Favorite Tracks: Left Hand Free, Pusher
After two years, alt-J, stylized as Δ, return with their sophomore album “This is All Yours.” The British indie rock band hit listeners by storm with their critically-acclaimed debut album “An Awesome Wave.” Joe Newman (Guitarist/Vocals) alongside Gus Unger-Hamilton (Keyboards/Vocals) and Thom Green (Percussion) return with an album that wonderfully picks up right where “An Awesome Wave” left off. Even with the departure of bassist Gwil Sainsbury, alt-J retains its distinctive sound and unique presence.
Their first album was positively received by critics and listeners, leaving fans with high expectations for their new album. “This is All Yours” did not fail to capture the experimental art essence of the band. Alt-J tests new sounds and techniques such as using a track sampling of Miley Cyrus’ “4×4” in the evocative “Hunger of the Pine” track and the staggering vocals on the lovely “Warm Foothills” track. The use of traditional instruments such as flutes, bells, and orchestral strings alongside synthesizers and bold percussion is prominent in the album. Alt-J still used the magical fluidity of Newman’s voice and the creative genius behind the band in this new venture.
Listening through the album the first time, I felt the same awe as I did with their first album. As I went back to listen through the album again, I began to fall in love with the ethereal quality of it. Starting off with “Intro,” alt-J gives a representation of what’s to come in the album: strong synthesizers, layered vocals, solid percussion, and twinkling guitar riffs. The album takes us through a tortuous path from the divine to the heavy that remain sardonic and mystical. There were many memorable songs on this album that harken back to their roots yet remain new. Each track presents this light yet primal quality about it through a labyrinth of sounds.
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“Left Hand Free” follows as another single on the album, and this track is arguably where the album lets down in comparison. Supposedly, this track is meant to be a joke about how they were recommended to make music that would be popular on the radio. It’s meant to have a pop rock sound, but alt-J isn’t a generic pop-indie rock band. It feels out of place next to the mesmerizing “Every Other Freckle” and the pan-flute instrumental “Garden of England.” It’s not a terrible song, but it is not cohesive to the rest of the album.
“This is All Yours” is a hauntingly beautiful album that may not be as perfect as “An Awesome Wave” was, but comes so close. Some tracks like “Left Hand Free” may make the album feel disjointed, but it does not take off from the amazing experience of the album. Alt-J took their distinctive sound and tinkered with various elements that was eerily familiar yet disorienting and innovative.